Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Most Expensive Night Away from Home, Ever

  • In the above infographic I used a stock photograph of surgery being performed using a da Vinci robot, a device that costs about $2 million. July 2016, a surgeon operated a da Vinci on me via five small incisions. I was glued to the table: alcohol was sprayed on my back to activate an adhesive on the table. 
  • The $31,561.86 $32,661.86 [Infographic updated October 20, 2016] bill includes hospital, physician, laboratory, and pharmacy charges. This may not be was not the final total: another bill trickled in last week and another came in after this post was published. The work-up prior to surgery produced $6,400 in medical bills. I expect to undergo radiation therapy which will result in another $30,000, or thereabouts, in new claims going to my insurance company. In all cases, the insurance company negotiates a lower rate with the healthcare provider. 
  • Unpaid healthcare bills are the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the USA. There's evidence most Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. Public policy needs to double-down on access to insurance and the affordability of out-of-pocket expenses. 
  • I'm grateful for my good healthcare outcome, and for good insurance.


  1. Talking of health, Hilary died in 2007, aged just 64. Brian died in 2009. Tom Kilburn died in 2001, aged 80, and the Computer Science building became known as the Kilburn building. Dave Kinniment died in 2012. Simon Lavington went to Essex and is now retired; he writes about computing history. Peter Capon is a reader at a CofE church in Rusholme, and an advocate of building positive relationships with the LGBT community. Mary Almond and Gordon Frank were at the Baby 60th anniversary meetup in 2008. Howard Barringer is still working in the department. Derek lived for some time in Sheffield and is now retired. Howard moved to Hamburg and used to return to the North West occasionally with his family to see Steeleye Span; he used to belong to a gliding club there, and perhaps still does.

    1. Thank you for the update. I knew some, but not most of these details. Lots of recollections of a very special time. I am grateful to those folks, including Tom Kilburn who patiently and humbly gave me a couple extra tutorials to help overcome some of my blind spots. I owe that department a lot. I could start guessing who you are: would you send a short note to Tom(at) Thank you.