Newborn held by mother in hospital bed

Was A Couple Billed $40 To Hold Their Baby? Father Explains Real Reason For Skin-To-Skin Hospital Charge

A hospital bill has gone viral after a new dad Ryan Grassley posted it to Reddit along with the caption, “I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born.”

The bill, which shows that Ryan and his wife, Lidia, were charged nearly $40 for skin-to-skin contact immediately after Lidia’s cesarean section, was quickly shared through social media and garnered outrage everywhere.

People around the world have been quick to blast the hospital fee for being ridiculous and greedy, but others are pointing out that there are actually reasons for the perplexing hospital charge.

The new dad explained on Reddit that the couple were still in the operating room when the nurse let him hold their new baby on his wife’s neck and chest. He said that the nurse even took pictures with his camera for the new parents.

“Everyone involved in the process was great, and we had a positive experience. We just got a chuckle out of seeing that on the bill.”

Others on Reddit were also quick to help explain the fees. One Redditor pointed out that the wording is generally simply a part of the documentation for hospitals.

“At this point, when you make skin to skin contact, your baby is well enough to not need any more immediate medical interventions at that time and can be held by the parent,” one reader who works for a hospital pointed out. “This all goes along with Apgar scoring and stuff like that.”

Indeed, another reader pointed out that the time in the operating room would otherwise be billed as just general C-section time, since the team and equipment were all still being used.

“It’s minutes. Divide by 79 and it comes out to the same rate as the skin to skin,” reader Mike Hawks explained. “So no, OP didn’t get charged extra for this, they just broke it out separately for some sort of documentation reason.”

“My bet is that had she not done the skin-to-skin contact it would have been listed as 80 minutes of C section,” he added.

Another reader, a labor and delivery nurse, explained that extra staff is generally needed for the procedure when the mother is still on the operating room table.

“I didn’t know that hospitals charged for it, but doing ‘skin to skin’ in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby,” she wrote. “‘Skin to skin’ in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second Labor and Delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe.”

The new dad confirmed to Babble that his wife’s arms were still tied to the operating table when he held their new baby against her for skin-to-skin contact, and that the nurse was right there to be sure nothing happened to the baby.

Skin-to-skin contact has been proven to be very beneficial to newborn babies. Dr. Raylene Phillips explained in “Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth” in the medical journal Newborn & Infant Nursing Reviews that this time between a new mother and her baby is so important that it should be standard procedure for both vaginal and cesarean deliveries.

“Hospital protocols can be modified to support uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for both vaginal and cesarean births,” the doctor advised. “There is good evidence that normal, term newborns who are placed skin to skin with their mothers immediately after birth make the transition from fetal to newborn life with greater respiratory, temperature, and glucose stability and significantly less crying indicating decreased stress.”

Still, Ryan is annoyed he was charged $40 for the skin-to-skin time and has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay the bill, where he explained that he never meant to start a “witch hunt” for the hospital.

The new dad said that he would use money raised to pay the “ridiculous” skin-to-skin portion of the bill and that any leftover money would go towards making sure the new couple didn’t have any more babies.

“Any money donated over the $39.35 will be put towards a vasectomy because I never want to go though these sleepless new baby nights again.”

As of Tuesday evening, $15 had been raised.

[Featured Image by SBYtova/iStock]

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