Part 1: The High Cost of Staying Alive in a Private Hospital

This case study consists of three parts.

Part 2: Eleven to Nineteen Drugs A Day Could Not Cure Her – Rather Die Than Suffer More   

Part 3:The Last Option: CA Care Therapy After Chemotherapy Had Failed

This is a tragic story of MS, a single, 41-year-old lady from Jakarta.

In early May 2012, MS felt uncomfortable in her abdomen. She felt something moving inside. She went to see an internist in Jakarta. A blood test showed elevated CA 125 – more than 1400. MS was asked to go and see a gynaecologist. A ultrasound was done and the gynecologist told her to go home and pray. She was told consult an oncologist. MS went to see a doctor who treated her with semi—chemo injection.

I was rather curious and enquired more about this treatment! This treatment was provided by a “retired” medical doctor who sees many patients a day. MS was given a concoction of “semi-chemo’ injection every day for two months. For her diet, MS was allowed to take only broccoli juice, egg white (albumin) – 12 eggs a day (4 eggs, thrice a day), banana and pears. MS felt better for the first month of treatment. But in the second month she felt the food rather boring. Her abdomen became bloated.  In short, her condition worsened.

MS and her elder sister (MM) came to a private hospital in Penang for treatment in mid-August 2012. She stayed two weeks in Penang and received two cycles of chemotherapy.  She went home to Jakarta but did not get any better.

After three days in Jakarta her condition deteriorated (drop!) She was admitted into a hospital in Jakarta due to low albumin. Her abdomen became bigger in size.

On 28 August 2012 MS and MM came back to Penang again and was admitted into the same private hospital.  And she has been in this hospital up to this day – almost one and a half months.  While in Penang she received seven cycles of chemotherapy. According to MM, the family had already spent RM 100,000 but the patient was not getting any better – in reality MS’s condition had worsened.

Since the current chemo regimen failed, the oncologist suggested switching to another regimen consisted of Caelyx and Topotecan. She was told that this would not cure her, but could prolong her life by about six to eight months. This information shocked MM and triggered here to try and look for another option. MM told me that after a short prayer that night she went off to sleep. The next morning she went to the internet and searched for kanker ovarium. This was her first attempt to find information for herself.  There she found CA Care on the YouTube.

MM came to see us on 16 October 2012. She brought along a stack of medical bills but not much medical reports!

From her medical bills, I get to learn many things about staying in a private hospital.

1.  It is not cheap to stay alive

The total cost for a 41-day-stay in a private hospital in Penang is almost RM 86,000. This works out to about an average of RM 2,000 per day.

Daily Cost in Hospital RM (Ringgit Malaysia)
28 August 2012 3,932.70
29 August 2012 1,568.50
30 August 2012 1,436.20
31 August 2012 1,590.80
1 September 2012 2,065.20
2 September 2012 1,917.50
3 September 2012 2,006.00
4 September 2012 1,355.70
5 September 2012 1,723.90
6 September 2012 1,804.30
7 September 2012 1,609.80
8 September 2012 1,663.00
9 September 2012 1,618.30
10 September 2012 1,859.60
11 September 2012 2,459.80
12 September 2012 1,592.50
13 September 2012 1,220.50
14 September 2012 2,999.70
15 September 2012 1,264.50
16 September 2012 1,531.50
17 September 2012 1,178.00
18 September 2012 4,000.80
19 September 2012 2,389.80
20 September 2012 1,479.50
21 September 2012 4,041.70
22 September 2012 2,055.30
23 September 2012 1,856.60
24 September 2012 3,016.20
25 September 2012 2,826.20
26 September 2012 2,312.20
27 September 2012 3,036.10
28 September 2012 2,642.50
29 September 2012 2,164.60
30 September  2013 2,038.50
1 October 2012 2,108.10
2 October 2012 2,922.70
3 October 2012 2,605.40
4 October 2012 1,418.70
5 October 2012 1,664.80
6 October 2012 1,394.20
7 October 2012 1,014.40
Total cost of 41 days in hospital       85,386.30
Average cost  of hospital per day  2,082.59

 2.  The Most Expensive and Cheapest Seven Days in Hospital

At certain days the cost could be as high as RM 4,000 and the cheapest day is about RM 1,000

The most expensive 7 days in hospital  
21 September 2012 4,041.70
18 September 2012 4,000.80
28 August 2012 3,932.70
27 September 2012 3,036.10
24 September 2012 3,016.20
14 September 2012 2,999.70
2 October 2012 2,922.70
The cheapest 7 days in hospital  
4 October 2012 1,418.70
6 October 2012 1,394.20
4 September 2012 1,355.70
15 September 2012 1,264.50
13 September 2012 1,220.50
17 September 2012 1,178.00
7 October 2012 1,014.40

 3. What Makes A Hospital Stay Expensive?

The cost of a hospital stay consist of: room charge, doctors’ fees, nursing care, laboratory services, medical supplies, medication / pharmacy charges, procedures – dressing or nursing, X-ray and CT scan charges.

Laboratory services RM (Ringgit Malaysia)
CA 125 85.20
CA 19.9 85.20
Full blood picture 53.20
Liver Function Test 47.20
Creatinine 39.60
Prothrombin time (PT) 47.20
Cancer Treatment Monitoring Profile 220.40
Blood-screening and processing 304.00
Blood transfusion 100.00
 Imaging 
CT scan 880.00
X-ray Charges 800.00
Professional Services 
Doctor attendance fee 80.00
Dietetic for follow up 35.00
Nursing care 60.00
 Lodging & Physical Facilities
Lodger 20.00
Room – single 310.00
Regular meal – single room 60.00
Clinical waste 10.00
Ripple mattress 20.00

 4.  The Week of Chemotherapy in Hospital

The Week of Chemotherapy  
18 September 2012 4,000.80
19 September 2012 2,389.80
20 September 2012 1,479.50
21 September 2012 4,041.70
22 September 2012 2,055.30
23 September 2012 1,856.60
24 September 2012 3,016.20
Total cost for the week 18,839.90

 

On 18 September 2012 MS underwent chemotherapy.  The drugs used were Carboplatin and Intaxel (generic Indian paclitaxel). And these are the drugs that matters – trying to “kill” the cancer. Take note that the cost of Carboplatin and Intaxel are only RM 363.30 + RM 363.30. But the total cost for the day in hospital was RM 4,000.80. Just imagine, it would be most wonderful if Carboplatin + Intaxel were not toxic – treating cancer would be cheap and everyone could afford it! But the problem is, chemo drugs are toxic, i.e. poisonous! Because of that a lot of other drugs are needed to support and keep the patient alive! Study the details of the costs and types of drugs used for that day.

Itemised bill of 18 September 2012

After receiving the chemo injection, patients generally suffer side effects. Three days later the situation had probably become severe and the patient needed more support.  The total bill for the day shot up to RM 4,041.70. Then three days later, further support was needed and this time the bill came to RM 3,016.20

Itemised bill of 21 September 2012

Itemised bill of 24 September 2012

(For information on what these drugs are for, go to Part 2 of this story)

From the above, I learned that to administer a drug to “kill cancer” which costs only RM 363.30 + RM 363.30, patient had to spend more than RM 18,000 in the form of supporting drugs and services. Again I say, how nice it would have been if that RM363 + RM 363.30-chemo-drugs were not toxic to healthy cells. Then we don’t need all those supporting drugs and don’t have to incur all those additional costs.

Can someone “invent”, synthesize or make a drug for cancer that is entirely safe? Or it is AGAINST their vested interest to look into such a proposition? I am not naïve when I ask these questions.  Read the quotations below:

When you get into the hospital, know this ….

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Part 1: The High Cost of Staying Alive in a Private Hospital

  1. Pingback: Part 2: Eleven to Nineteen Drugs A Day Could Not Cure Her Rather Die Than Suffer More | CANCER STORY

  2. Pingback: Part 3: The Last Option: CA Care Therapy After Chemotherapy Had Failed | CANCER STORY

Comments are closed.