In an emergency, it’s fair to say that sometimes all of the normal rules go out the window. And, let’s face it, giving birth in a hospital parking lot definitely counts as an emergency. Shockingly, though, the hospital in question still billed this mom for use of a delivery room that she didn’t set foot in.
April 7, 2016, was a special day for Paula D’Amore and her husband Joseph. That’s because it was the day that the couple welcomed their third baby into the world. Of course, like all parents, the pair were hoping that everything would go as perfectly as possible for their new arrival.
To mark the special occasion, then, D’Amore decided to document the miracle of life. “I knew if I ever got pregnant again, I would hire a professional photographer so that I would be able to have those pictures [of giving birth],” she explained. Therefore, she hired specialist birth photographer Paulina Splechta, who turned up as planned when the expectant mom started labor.
Splechta arrived at the couple’s home in Green Acres, Florida, where she snapped D’Amore soothing herself in a bath at the very earliest stages of labor. Then, when the time came, D’Amore and her midwife climbed in to the family’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Joseph drove them to the hospital. Everything appeared to be going as planned.
So the birthing party headed to the Boca Raton Regional Hospital, and photographer Splechta followed behind the SUV in her own car. But as the couple were driving along, D’Amore’s delivery progressed rapidly.
In fact, just as the group were pulling into the hospital, D’Amore realized she was about to give birth at any moment. So they pulled into the fire lane of the facility – just in the nick of time. “We drove up, my husband ran out and I said — you know — ‘she’s crowning’ and her head came out,” D’Amore revealed.
Luckily, Splechta managed to get to the scene just in time to capture the dramatic birth on camera. But it was too late to get D’Amore into the hospital building, so nurses rushed to the car to help with the delivery there. Alongside D’Amore’s husband and her midwife, the nurses delivered a healthy baby girl, who the couple named Daniella.
Recalling the emotional moment, D’Amore said, “It was a spectacle. I mean, everybody was out there.” Speaking to Inside Edition, she added, “I would have never imagined that it would have been right outside the hospital.”
Although the birth didn’t go entirely to plan, D’Amore and her family were just happy that their little girl was delivered safely. Daniella weighed eight pounds and six ounces and measured 20 inches from head to toe. “To me it was beautiful,” the mom later said. “It didn’t matter if it was in my house or in the car, or in the hospital. It didn’t matter.”
And, importantly to D’Amore, she had finally captured the beauty of birth on camera. However, it almost didn’t happen. Splechta later admitted, “I’m fortunate that I was able to make it to the hospital in time to document the birth.” But she did, and D’Amore was over the moon with the result.
Mind you, giving birth in the car wasn’t the only surprise from the delivery. Months after Daniella and her mom were home, D’Amore received her hospital bill. And despite not giving birth in the hospital’s delivery room, D’Amore found that she had still been charged an exorbitant delivery room fee.
Yes, even though she had given birth in her car, D’Amore was charged more than $7,000 for use of a delivery room. The price, she said, is a little too high considering the details of her baby’s delivery. So, the family decided that they weren’t going to pay that part of the bill.
Furthermore, D’Amore claimed that the hospital also charged her for a problem that was the result of staff negligence. According to D’Amore, the hospital didn’t clean Daniella before taking a sample of the newborn’s blood. This allegedly led to the baby needing further treatment for a bacterial infection.
To clarify, D’Amore is not disputing the whole bill. “I knew that I was responsible for $5,000. I get it, I’m going to pay the bill. That’s not the issue. The issue is that I’m like — I look at this delivery charge and I think that’s a little outrageous,” she said.
However, the hospital has countered D’Amore’s argument. “The hospital appropriately bills for the medical services and care it provides and has determined that the level of care provided and billing were appropriate in this instance,” Thomas Chakurda, the hospital’s vice president for marketing, said in a statement.
It seems that because D’Amore was taken into the hospital to deliver the placenta, the hospital deemed it appropriate to charge the full delivery fee. However, Daniella’s family isn’t alone in feeling this is a little unfair. In fact, after going public with her story on Facebook, D’Amore has received many supportive comments.
“So if you have been in labor for 12 hours in the hospital and delivered in the hospital, would it have been the same?” asked one Facebook user. “If so, I would fight that. If all you did was deliver the placenta inside, then why be charged for a whole birth fee?”
However, one commenter on Facebook countered that D’Amore “was in the room for delivery of the placenta and monitoring. Hospital rooms usually charge for the day, otherwise all of us ladies with short labors would have cheaper bills. Sucks, but true.”
Still, after starting life in the fast lane – actually, make that the fire lane – baby Daniella settled in well at home. Yes, family photos show the little cutie with her two older brothers and doting parents. “She’s pretty quiet for the most part, unless she isn’t getting her way. Kinda like mommy,” D’Amore joked.
And, despite the distress the pricey bill has caused, D’Amore has admitted that she may have to pay the sum in full. That is, if she and the hospital can’t resolve their disagreement. Meanwhile, the family has prepared for the worse and set up a payment plan toward the fee. However, they still would like an apology from the hospital, as D’Amore claimed it “turned a beautiful experience into hell.”