When a patient faces an outrageous medical bill, they have two choices: Pay the balance or fight.
Lauren Slemenda chose to fight. After failing to reach a consensus with the hospital on a fair price, she took the case to small-claims court.
“An Arm and a Leg” host Dan Weissmann spoke with Slemenda about what it was like to sue a hospital and why she thinks more people should take their providers to court over unfair bills.
Click to open the Transcript
Transcript: She Sued a Hospital and Lost — But Felt She’d Won
Note: “An Arm and a Leg” uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.
Lauren: My name is Lauren Slemenda. I live in Reno, Nevada, I work in higher education. That’s my full-time gig. And I probably should have been a lawyer.
Dan: Lauren sent me a note a few months ago with the subject heading: “I sued a hospital in small claims court, and lost. Here’s what I learned”
It ended, “I technically lost, but I feel like I won.”
Lauren: I’m just kind of a bulldog when I feel like big organizations with a lot of power are taking advantage of people, especially people that I care about. , I, I just get really fired up and I’m not afraid of a little conflict
Dan: She wanted to encourage more people — maybe a lot more people — to give it a try. I was like, let’s definitely talk.
This is An Arm and a Leg, a show about why health care costs so freaking much, and what we can maybe do about it. I’m Dan Weissmann– I’m a reporter, and I like a challenge. So our job on this show is to take one of the most enraging, terrifying, depressing parts of American life, and bring you something entertaining, empowering, and useful.
And Lau …