Bobbi Kristina Brown has been unresponsive for nearly six months now following a mysterious bathtub accident that left her deprived of oxygen for an unknown amount of time. What is known medically is that it takes just four minutes for brain cells to begin to die when they are deprived of oxygen, as in the case of being submerged in water. When Bobbi Kristina was found, she was not responsive, but was having seizure activity, which showed while she was not brain dead, her brain had suffered a massive assault, likely from hypoxia or oxygen deprivation.
Bobbi remained in the ICU in Georgia for months while Bobby Brown, her father, and Cissy Houston, her grandmother, rallied around her and prayed for a miracle. Absent from her bedside was her boyfriend, Nick Gordon, who has been implicated by many as having some responsibility for her accident, but he has not been formally charged by the police. As with much of the Houston/Brown history, the two families were sharply divided on what they thought would be the best course of medical action for Bobbi Kristina. Whitney Houston, the mother of Bobbi Kristina, had suffered a similar fate and died several years ago, leaving Bobby Brown to be Bobbi Kristina’s next of kin and healthcare surrogate. Because she was dependent on a ventilator to breathe, heavily sedated so that she wouldn’t experience seizures, and according to Cissy Houston, “not improving at all” – Bobby Brown had to make a decision to take her off life support or move her to a facility that cares for people who are unresponsive and on ventilators. He chose the latter.
The emotional toll on her family is not something that can be calculated. The financial toll, however, can be estimated, and it is absolutely astounding.
Paul Hughes-Cromwick, senior health economist at the Center for Sustainable Health Spending at the Altarum Institute, which seeks to solve complex systems problems to improve human health, is able to estimate most of the cost of her care, according to The Wrap. Although nobody but her healthcare facility and family knows how much her health insurance covers, a typical stay in a center like Bobbi Kristina resides in is approximately $2,000 a day. That is independent of medicines, specials tests, doctor referrals, special equipment, and other unforeseen costs that may arise.
Based on Hughes-Cromwick’s assessment, a 60-day hospital stay would start somewhere between and $60,000 and $120,000. He said that her initial days on a ventilator probably cost as high as $10,000 a day since much time is needed and care given to ensure proper settings of the ventilator are achieved. Hughes-Cromwick says the situation is very tricky from a financial standpoint.
“It could be the case where they have to pay full charges just because they’re famous and they’re supposed to have a lot of money. And maybe they don’t have an insurance plan that has done this kind of negotiating with the provider. Next thing you know you can go from that $100,000 to $150,000 area to $200,000 or $250,000, plus therapists that have to be added in. I can easily see this mounting to $200,000 or $250,000 a year.”
While some may argue that amount is no problem for someone like the Houstons or Bobby Brown to pay, the situations remains that health care resources are at a premium in the current health care climate. It raises ethical questions as to quality of life, care for those who are unresponsive, and the cost of keeping people with a very poor prognosis alive.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Should Bobbi Kristina continue to be kept on a ventilator in your opinion? If so, how long? Do you think other non-famous people would receive this high-cost healthcare without ethics committees stepping in?
[image by Celebritybam]