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Turns Out Rabies is Really Expensive

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    Turns Out Rabies is Really Expensive

    Back in September, while walking at night, I had a bat land on the back of my neck. I didn't think much of it at first, but after a couple of weeks, I started to get paranoid. After talking to my doctor who thought it was nothing, the health department who didn't have a clue, and then getting chewed out by the State of Georgia Poison Control, I ended up getting the full series of rabies vaccination.

    The shots are not like what you hear about, giant needles in the stomach and what such.

    At the ER on day 0, its four shots of immunoglobulin, two in each butt cheek and one shot of vaccine in the arm. (the vaccine is a beautiful pink color). Then follow up vaccine shots in the arm on days 3, 7, and 14.

    A couple of months went by, and I finally got the explanation of benefits from insurance and the first invoice from the hospital.

    Before insurance was applied, the cost for the ER visit was $17,000. The discounted cost for the insurance was about $9,000. My out of pocket was only $150 ER copay.

    The explanation of benefits also listed the cost for the two vaccinations on days 3 and 7. I think the original cost was $1,500 total, and my expected cost to be $900.

    I've not yet received the explanation of benefits for the day 14 shot. My assumption would be my expected cost to be around $450.

    I have not received any invoice from the hospital for the follow up shots.

    I'm still on the fence if it was worth it or not as there is no good estimation that I have found of IF the bat was rabid, and IF it transmitted it to me or not. The reports I've read stated fever does not start until three to six months after the exposure, at which point you're dead within the week.

    If you plan on contracting rabies, have insurance first!

    #2
    Wow. Well, there is something that I've never thought about.
    Good thing you were insured

    Brian

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      #3
      It's always the weird stuff you never expect.

      What was the deal with the ER, which I assume to be Emergency Room? Did you go to the ER after the incident with the bat?

      Comment


        #4
        Hey, a big "me too" on that one! Same thing, four years ago: Bat, back of neck. Only--I felt the bite! Mostly just pressure. The neck or face was pretty much the only place the bat could've bitten me, as I was wearing long pants, long sleeves, gloves shoes, and a hat-- all for protection from sun and bugs. Went to doctor next day. He sent me over to ER (his office is next door). I was given immunoglobulin, tetanus vac , and the first rabies vaccine. Part of vaccine was dotted all around the bite area, the rest went into my arm, if I recall correctly.

        I was popular in the ER; all these nurses wanted to see the bite site. Some claimed they could see the bite mark. Some said they couldn't see it. But everyone could see a rectangular redness on my neck. A couple had stories of family members who'd had bat bites! My own bite was in day time, while I was picking plums. That made one nurse say, "Fruit bat, then". I just said, "I don't know," even though I know fruit bats do not live around here.

        The next vaccines were arranged to be gotten at an urgent care center associated with the hospital chain. Don't remember what my co-pay was, but the total without insurance supposedly was $22,000, not counting my own doctor's visit.

        I think the health department was supposed to contact me, but they never did.

        I'm grateful for bats anyway. They eat a lot of mosquitos. They sometimes fly close enough at night that I can feel the turbulence from their wings. I am not at all afraid of them. But one out at day time that bites, oh yeah, shell out the money for those rabies shots!
        "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

        "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

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          #5
          My friend's wife just went through this around 6 months ago. Her rabies shots were north of $30k. They met their $4k deductible.

          Comment


            #6
            This is very interesting. When I was child, rabies vaccine was administered quite differently (thankfully, no first hand knowledge). The warning certainly discouraged me from approaching stray dogs (or stray creatures in general). I never thought about bats (except maybe in a cave). I believe (again, no first hand knowledge) it has been since the 1980s where the "newer" type of vaccine (in the arm) has been available (Wow! That is 40+ years ago). I would count this as an amazing achievement in science. Along with the first known survivor of rabies: https://www.nbc26.com/news/local-new...beautiful-life
            https://childrenswi.org/newshub/stor...a-giese-rabies

            They have used this Milwaukee Protocol on other folks who have contracted rabies. While survival is still not likely, they have achieved about a 14% survival rate (which is better than 0). Maybe some day they will come up with a cure.
            https://www.newswise.com/articles/pr...ut-vaccination
            https://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Ra...edical_therapy

            Just curiosity question for myrdale and joan-- after the series was completed were you asked to donate plasma in order to make Human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) for future recipients?

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              #7
              after the series was completed were you asked to donate plasma in order to make Human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) for future recipients?

              No.
              "There is some ontological doubt as to whether it may even be possible in principle to nail down these things in the universe we're given to study." --text msg from my kid

              "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." --Frederick Douglass

              Comment

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