University Hospital bill from 1932 shows prices from simpler, cheaper time

Few of us can stand prosperity.


– Mark Twain

The rising cost of health care is always an important topic, and perhaps is why Sheila Wilson showed us the 1932 University Hospital bill when her mother gave birth to her sister.

“I ran across my mother’s hospital bill,” she wrote. “My sister, Patricia, was delivered on 2-20-1932 and the bill for eight days including delivery was a total of $61, which I deem absolutely amazing. ...

“The 1932 bill was ultra simple ... no charges for every single item used as opposed to the present billing system itemizing and charging for every item including even aspirin.”

Sheila’s copy shows a remarkably simple bill with “University Hospital” stamped above it. From it, we can see Mrs. Mary O’Conner, of 925 Telfair St., was in the hospital for eight days and charged $6 for each. There were also $12 in delivery room and nursery fees. And $1 was assessed for something labeled “Board, Sp. Nurse.”

The doctor’s name is illegible.

It was, as they like to say, a simpler time.

(Cheaper, too.)

YOUR MAIL: Pat Vanhooser sent a card from Afghanistan that made me laugh. On the front it shows an arid landscape with a big headline: “Got Sand?”

But then she got serious.

“I am really proud of our military,” she wrote. “... It was 129 degrees yesterday and it was just another work day for them. Please ask your readers to thank a solider next time they get the chance.”

(I will.)

Dorothy Payne and Jeanette Pate went to Hawaii and sent back a postcard.

“We are in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach for five days,” they write. “... Wish you were here.”

Closer to home, June, Dot, Shirley and Muriel were on Mackinac Island, Mich., with a group from First Baptist in North Augusta. The weather is great, they say.

TODAY’S JOKE: Bill Wood, of Hephzibah, shares this:

Up in the hills one Sunday morning, the preacher at the hard-shell little country church asked anyone present with “special needs” to come forward to the front by the altar.

With that, Leroy got in line, and when it was his turn, the preacher asked, “Leroy, what do you want me to pray about for you?”

Leroy replied, “Preacher, I need you to pray for help with my hearing.”

The old preacher put one finger of one hand in Leroy’s ear, placed his other hand on top of Leroy’s head, and then prayed and prayed and prayed. He prayed a “blue streak” for Leroy, and the whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.

After a few minutes, the preacher removed his hands, stood back and asked, “Leroy, how is your hearing now?”

Leroy looked at him oddly and answered, “I don’t know. It ain’t ’til Tuesday.”


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