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she thought. So she takes a deep breath and reaches into the other nostril. But as Lucy

Time:2019-11-30 23:27Shoes websites Click:

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Bill Of The Month: Extraction Of Doll Shoes In Girl's Nose Cost $2,659

By Stephanie O'Neill | NPR
Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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 she thought. So she takes a deep breath and reaches into the other nostril. But as Lucy

A 4-year-old girl was playing with her dolls and next thing you know, she had two tiny doll shoes stuck in her nose. A trip to urgent care, then the emergency room left her parents with a giant bill.

Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

If you're in the emergency room with your kid, it's scary, and the bill is probably not the first thing on your mind. But a visit to the emergency room can end up getting pretty pricey.

Each month, NPR takes a medical bill to sort through why they can be so confusing and confounding. Today, we look at the case of a pretty big bill for what seems like a pretty simple medical service. It only took a minute or so.

We're joined by Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal. She's editor-in-chief of our partner Kaiser Health News. Welcome back.

ELISABETH ROSENTHAL: Hi. That's quite a story.

KELLY: Quite a story. So who are we hearing from? What's the story?

ROSENTHAL: Today, we're meeting the Branson family from Las Vegas. They're a young couple with two little girls, Emma and Lucy. And the bill involves a Polly Pocket doll and an emergency room visit.

KELLY: OK. Looking forward to hearing where this one goes. And our guide is going to be reporter Stephanie O'Neill, who visited the Bransons. Let's hear what happened.

STEPHANIE O'NEILL, BYLINE: For the Bransons of Las Vegas, the story of Lucy and the tiny doll shoes is one no one in this family will ever forget. It happened last April. Lucy was just 3 1/2. And on this particular evening, her parents, Katy and Michael, were getting ready for a long-awaited concert. It was to be a special evening, one given to them by Katy's parents.

KATY BRANSON: We had a babysitter coming in, like, less than an hour. We had these tickets. We were really excited. And Lucy comes up the stairs, and I hear (imitating coughing). And I was like, what is going on? And Michael said, why are you coughing?

O'NEILL: But Lucy wouldn't answer them beyond gesturing at her nose, Michael says.

MICHAEL BRANSON: Well, I kind of pulled her back and kind of lifted her head up and put her on our bed. And that's when I could see something up her nose.

O'NEILL: That something was a pair of tiny, pink, plastic doll shoes, one perfectly lodged in each of Lucy's little nostrils. Michael says panic overtook him, while Katy, who was in the midst of readying herself for the date, sprung into full-on mom mode.

K BRANSON: And so I went up with my little tweezers, and I get one little pink shoe out, and I put it on the counter. It's maybe about the size of a Q-tip head.

O'NEILL: Easy peasy, she thought. So she takes a deep breath and reaches into the other nostril. But as Lucy, now 4 years old, explains, it didn't work.

LUCY: The other one was stuck in my nose, and I couldn't - and my mom couldn't get it out.

O'NEILL: Big sister Emma says...

EMMA: And it was hard for her to breathe.

O'NEILL: Emma's 7.

EMMA: It was scary. Lucy, was it scary?

LUCY: Yes.

EMMA: That's what I was thinking.

O'NEILL: Have you ever done anything like that?

EMMA: Never in my life.

O'NEILL: But it is pretty common for kids to stick things up their noses, with some items even requiring surgical extraction. Still, Katy wasn't too worried, even when her tweezers couldn't reach the second shoe.

K BRANSON: I'm thinking, OK, well, I can't get this out. I don't want to hurt her. So I say, OK, Lucy, you need to blow. Like - and then I kind of do the motion of blow. And she goes (imitating inhaling).

O'NEILL: That was a giant sniff.

K BRANSON: And I was like, oh, shoot (laughter).

O'NEILL: After that, Katy knew it was time for the professionals.

K BRANSON: So I said, OK, Michael, you need to go to the urgent care. They should have the tweezers. All we need is - are - is tweezers that are, like, maybe a half an inch or an inch longer than my standard day-to-day tweezers.

O'NEILL: But urgent care didn't have a long enough pair. Next stop, the hospital emergency room. And voila - the ER doc easily plucked the shoe out of little Lucy's nostril.

M BRANSON: And it was probably less than one second - the time they put it up her nose, latched on it, pulled it out. She was out.

O'NEILL: Lucy got a lollipop. Katy and Michael got to the concert. It seemed like their lucky day.

Then they got the bill - almost $2,000 for the ER and almost another grand for the ER doc. And because the Bransons have a high-deductible plan, they're responsible for all of it.

K BRANSON: I thought it was simply an error. I was like, there is no way.

O'NEILL: What's the most you've ever paid for a pair of shoes?

K BRANSON: Oh, my gosh - probably $178. Yeah. They were normally 228, and I had a coupon. I was very proud of it.

O'NEILL: So you've never had a pair of shoes anything close to the cost of these shoes.

K BRANSON: No, I haven't - never had a $3,000 pair of shoes.

O'NEILL: Still, Katy Branson says she remains hopeful that Lucy has learned her lesson.

K BRANSON: But she has said she will never put shoes up her nose again. She's promised.

O'NEILL: And her parents hope that also means she won't be sticking anything else up her nostrils ever again.

For NPR News, I'm Stephanie O'Neill in Las Vegas.

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