$1M for hospital bill: “healthcare or nightmare”

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Facebook user Fina Leong has shared that she was charged a whopping $1,018,469.29 for medical care for her mother who passed away after a battle with cancer recently. In her post, she questioned the expertise of public hospitals versus private facilities and claimed that billing structure to “max-out insurance payout” is institutionalised in public hospitals.

Sharing that she was pained that her mother’s life was lost in spite of the care of 10 doctors, a 58-day stay in the ICU and “1 gigantic bill,” Fina wrote, “If I had known that 18 May would be the last day of her life, I would rather spend $350,000 on bringing mum the greatest joyful, loving, happiest and most comforting experiences, rather than have her go through 58 extremely painful suffering days immobile in a cold and sterile hospital room.”

She also regretted not approaching a private hospital instead of admitting her mother into a public facility: “We also made the mistake of thinking “all hospitals are the same”. There is a HUGE difference in SPEED and EXPERTISE for public healthcare and private specialists. For a woman over 50’s and post-menopause, if there is unusual swelling in the abdomen, a detailed scan to check for tumour is required immediately. When mum was first admitted in January, the doctors took 2 long weeks to discover the tumour. Something that the right scan would instantly reveal.

“I feel that the entire healthcare ecosystem is such that specialists and private facilities are gravely expensive, and billing is structured in a way to max-out insurance payout in a cold and professionally institutionalised way. My heart felt cold when I saw that on mum’s $1 million bill, she was referred to as “Customer” and not “Patient”

“At the end of the day… there are a ton of what-ifs and grey areas. What is right? What is wrong? One thing for sure is this.. Nothing can be done now to reverse the situation. Nothing can turn back time. And our hearts will miss mum forever…”

$1,018,469.29 Healthcare or Nightmare? 10 doctors, 58 days in the ICU, 1 gigantic bill, Mum's life lost. Never in…

Posted by Fina Leong on Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Just in case you can’t she what she posted, this is what Fina said.


$1,018,469.29
Healthcare or Nightmare?

10 doctors, 58 days in the ICU, 1 gigantic bill, Mum’s life lost.
Never in my life would I have ever imagined I’d see a S$1 million medical bill.
$350,000 in medications… Over a thousand doses of drugs.. I felt so helpless when mum’s kidneys failed.

One thing for sure is this… If I had known that 18 May would be the last day of her life, I would rather spend $350,000 on bringing mum the greatest joyful, loving, happiest and most comforting experiences, rather than have her go through 58 extremely painful suffering days immobile in a cold and sterile hospital room.

Looking back, it is all a lack of the right knowledge that cost my mum’s life. The painful unknown is… I will never know whether we did the right thing to send mum in through these doors.

There are many health alternatives that can help reverse cancer. However, what is the DOSE and FREQUENCY required to achieve that outcome? Unfortunately it is mostly trial and error, and in mum’s instance, she was unable to consume the dose required to reverse her condition.

Because of this, we were selectively close-minded to recommendations. There were many doctors, alternatives and nutritional supplements that family & friends recommended. We explored some and missed many. However, if we stayed 100% open and explored ALL alternatives, one of them may have been able to save mum. A very costly regret…

We didn’t realise how urgent cancer was. For someone with a generally healthy diet with natural foods and active lifestyle, if cancer strikes, find out if “targeted chemotherapy” is available. For aggressive treatment as chemotherapy, it needs to be administered as soon as possible while the body still has health reserves and is able to bounce back.

We also made the mistake of thinking “all hospitals are the same”. There is a HUGE difference in SPEED and EXPERTISE for public healthcare and private specialists. For a woman over 50’s and post-menopause, if there is unusual swelling in the abdomen, a detailed scan to check for tumour is required immediately. When mum was first admitted in January, the doctors took 2 long weeks to discover the tumour. Something that the right scan would instantly reveal.

Unfortunately, I feel that the entire healthcare ecosystem is such that specialists and private facilities are gravely expensive, and billing is structured in a way to max-out insurance payout in a cold and professionally institutionalised way. My heart felt cold when I saw that on mum’s $1 million bill, she was referred to as “Customer” and not “Patient”.

It is truly regretful that we were ignorant about mum’s insurance coverage. Had we known that mum’s insurance covered private specialist treatments, we could’ve sought private specialist expertise from Day 1.

At the end of the day… there are a ton of what-ifs and grey areas. What is right? What is wrong? One thing for sure is this.. Nothing can be done now to reverse the situation. Nothing can turn back time. And our hearts will miss mum forever…

More than ever now, I deeply feel that “If you do not invest time, money and energy in your health, you will spend your fortune on sickness”.

Ignorance is gravely costly. The right knowledge saves lives and protects families.
I hope this post has helped someone out there.

May we live with vigour, and die without suffering.

Rest in peace my beloved mummy…

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69 comments

  1. Fina Leong says:

    Hi The Independent,

    I have been misquoted. The paraphrasing in this article is inaccurate, and the post that you pasted does not match my post as well. Appreciate your urgency to correct it. Thank you.

  2. Facebook Profile photo
    Fina Leong ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hi The Independent,

    I have been misquoted. The paraphrasing in this article is inaccurate, and the post that you pasted does not match my post as well. Appreciate your urgency to correct it.

  3. why is everyone blaming the doctors? you seriously think the 1 million goes to their pockets? more like the hospital administrators and pharmaceutical companies

  4. I believe Kaw Boon Wan mentioned his out of pocket was $8. Did I get that right . I am sure the hospital would have a good reason for the million dollar bill. It has to be a million dollar answer.

  5. Low Jasper says:

    I knew one new hospital in the west part, non urgency service in A&E, poor service, poor judgement and much more expensive than NUH
    Many bad feedback, including my Mother, friends and ex colleagues
    I WONDER IS THAT THE HOSPITAL?

  6. With this government in charge it’s not surprising. It’s not health care that they are providing. Look at how they are making the hospitals look more like resorts than hospitals. All the money spent on sprucing up the aesthetics could be better used to help the patients instead of treating them as customers.

  7. Hard to believe it would amount into a million dollars when minister Khaw paid 8 bucks for his operation.
    Ah Khaw , hey Ah Khaw, where the F are you ? Better explain how you being charge 8 bucks for operation while this patient being charged a million.

  8. Another lie again… which hospital charge you 1 million dollars? You mean they let the bill accumulate till 1million dollars? The independent really likes ATTENTION…always so misleading

  9. Facebook Profile photo
    Veritas Wallace ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    i think the Leong family should contest this bill legally… if the hospital did not conduct financial feasibility analysis prior….and inform them of this potential ridiculous bill…

    know your rights… don’t just pay when told to do so…

    this society is out to suck your dry..

  10. David Yeo says:

    Something is very wrong when more hospitals are being build and getting bigger. It means more and more people are getting sick and filling up the hospital beds and A&E. It should be less and less people getting sick. We can’t achieve this for many reasons and for many, many years to come if all western medicine do is defensive treatment. We need to combine alternative treatment and whole lot of other factors to reduce the population of sick people which in turn reduces hospital bills. The whole approach of health care needs a paradigm shift

  11. Elaine Tan says:

    Well, patients are customers of health services. In fact, since 15 years ago, we were made to call “patients” “clients” in US and Australia to be politically correct.

  12. went thru similiar experience recently. publuc hospitals are all about ‘try n see’ … so many different doctors going in n out. pte hospitsl on d other hand is just too expensive for some. its a no win situation. it is a business. not a care facility.

    1. In the real world , the have not will always be at the mercy of the have ……the ruling gov. ‘s stand has always been they owe us citizen no nothing , place everything through mean testing without even an ounce of compassionate consideration to help , leaving the poor citizen to fend for themselves……..你死你的事!do not be a burden to the government!
      The bill mark marked up , deduct subsidies = high bill relative to one’s low income…………..

  13. Ah Soh says:

    That’s why we say ” Dalam Singapura Boleh Mati, ta’Boleh sakit”. When a person dies, amount to be spent is more or less finite. But when we falls sick, the amount is a big ?. It can cause great stress to siblings relationship.

  14. They know the diagnosis and don’t tell you too much. They treat you like a used vehicle. That is why one need to understand their health better to avoid such situations. It’s economic well being is more important than life. The fear keeps us going back to the same place

  15. Which is why i recently signed on the dotted lines of an “Advance Medical Directive” (AMD) to make clear to our over qualified plumbers called “doctors” to pull the plug on me in the event i fall into a brain dead situation. Its not worth paying these clowns that kind of money for them to buy new ferraris and putting our own family members into the clutches of legalised AhLongs of Singapore. I say this because i have no medical insuarance and no insurer wants to sell any medical insuarance to a Type 1 diabetic like me. Cheers!

    1. Sorry to hear this Bro Alvin. I always believe in one thing and that is, there is no gurantee given to anyone anywhere in the world when it comes to this matter of life. That includes our “caregivers” here In Singapore. I do point my finger to our ruling Government of the day though, for not doing enough for us, people with chronic conditions.

    2. My last stay with 3 more stents implants apart from the previous 1 stent done in 2014, for a 5 days stay on C class billed as $25k. Since medishield life n subsidy kicks in. It’s bearable

    3. Me too as a heart patient 2 episodes I think I have lived enough. If it’s too complicated I would rather they pull the plug as no insurance would want to cover me.

    4. My HbA1c records are in KTPH Diabetic Clinic for anyone to see. Constantly between 6.3 and 7. The life insurers however seem to think we Type 1’s are a liability to their Companies.

  16. Healthcare is a business. Patients are just numbers besides being customers. Medical service providers are business and doctors businessmen. Pity. My sister went through similar pain and it took one month for the hospital to diagnose her cancer. It is sad. In the unfortunate event that someone is diagnosed with late stage cancer its sensible to consider seriously the financial strain. Our govt and everything associated with them are business centers.

  17. o dear…. so sorry to hear that but I should wonder why there were no discussions on cost and options between doctor/hospital and family of patient. afterall, this is real concern what if cant afford then how?

    1. Let me tell you then how Yoshiyuki.
      Then we will be told to settle for subsidised wards, doctors, treatment. nurses and care. In short, die faster the better. Cheers Mam.

  18. 宫雨 says:

    I rather have a hospital without Aircon, no need beautiful room, no need big TV, no need WiFi….

    Earn with a heart.

    When the cost of the medication is 1.00 sell it for 1.10 will do.

    Are you trying to make the patient die even more faster.

  19. Yeow H Tan says:

    Name the hospital please. But I guess it’s one of Govt hospital turned private. Yes..there is huge difference in speed and expertise between govt and private hospital but the bill comes to almost the same.

  20. 宫雨 says:

    Doctor is saving money not life OK. They use ur mom to test every medicine at your expense. When they succeeded they claim they are the first at your expense.

    For me, I rather die then spending money on medical which basically cost less than thousand and sell you in 100fold the cost.

    Fark all these doctors.

    1. Doctors themselves and their families have very good medical insuarance covers They can afford the premiums for everyone in family and insuarance pay everything for them.

    2. 宫雨 says:

      Is a real world. Doctors are human also like business man. All very cunning when it comes to money.

      I have said to myself if one day I have to die, be it. Pay so much for medical still have to die. Then better die ASAP.

      It is so stupid to ask someone to help you to delay your death date.

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