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Father’s hospital charge for contact after baby’s birth goes viral

Utah

SPANISH FORK, Utah — (KUTV) — Ryan Grassley had to pay nearly $40 to hold his baby immediately after the child was born via cesarean section.

KUTV reports the Spanish Fork, Utah father only wanted to share the laugh he and his wife got out of seeing the itemized bill with a $39.35 charge for skin-to-skin time. The practice, viewed to have many benefits, is when a baby’s bare skin is placed against its mother’s to help them bond.

Grassley said on Sept. 4 his son was born at Utah Valley Hospital and the operating room nurse asked if the couple wanted to do skin-to-skin. The baby was cleaned up after the C-section and ready for his moment with mommy.

“The nurse let me hold the baby on my wife’s neck/chest,” Grassley, a.k.a. Reddit user halfthrottle, posted. “Even borrowed my camera to take a few pictures for us. 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.”

“I posted the bill to Reddit because I thought it was funny,” Grassley wrote online.

Apparently, 3.1 million people agreed with him. The post has been viewed more than 3.1 million times on Imgur.com, as of Tuesday at 5 p.m., and upvoted more than 6,200 times on Reddit.

Grassley wrote on his GoFundMe page it has been interesting to see the shock from people around the world about the cost of medical procedures in the U.S.

Yes, you read that right. Grassley has set up a tongue-in-cheek GoFundMe account with a fundraising goal of $39.35 to pay off the “ridiculous” fee. He writes any excess money donated will be put toward a vasectomy because, “I never want to go through these sleepless new baby nights again.”

Ryan reached his fundraising goal overnight! As of Wednesday morning, more than $50 have been raised on his GoFundMe page. He’s well on his way to a sterile future.

Grassley wanted to be clear that he wasn’t posting the picture of the bill as a slight toward the hospital.

“We had a very positive experience during the birth of our son, and the hospital and staff were great throughout the entire process,” he wrote.

Yes, the photo of the bill is real, and it’s an actual fee with a reasoning behind it.

Janet Frank, a spokeswoman for Intermountain HealthCare’s Utah Valley Hospital, wrote this in a statement:

“In general, Utah Valley Hospital is an advocate for skin-to-skin contact between a mother and newborn directly after birth. Skin-to-skin is a best practice with proven benefits for both mom and baby. We do everything possible to allow skin-to-skin after both vaginal and C-section births. In the case of a C-section, where the bedside caregiver is occupied caring for the mother during surgery, an additional nurse is brought into the OR to allow the infant to remain in the OR suite with the mother. This is to ensure both patients remain safe. There is an additional charge associated with bringing an extra caregiver into the OR. The charge is not for holding the baby, but for the additional caregiver needed to maintain the highest levels of patient safety.”

Frank was unable to comment specifically on the Grassleys’ situation due to patient privacy laws.

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