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The McKinney family

A hospital can be a scary place, especially for a mother or father of a sick child. Worrying about the cost of care can add a whole new layer of fear. For many families—even if they have insurance—medical bills can be financially devastating. When the postman finally delivers the bill, opening the letter can often be daunting.

But for these families, a letter from Seattle Children’s didn’t bring financial ruin; it brought relief, hope and the good kind of tears. That’s because instead of a bill, the letter contained one simple message: Your hospitals bills are taken care of.

In fiscal year 2014, Seattle Children’s covered $120 million in uncompensated care for families in the region who had little or no resources to pay their medical bills. Uncompensated care, which is made possible in part by donations from the community, helps thousands of families stay afloat when they need it most.

This Thanksgiving week, On the Pulse is sharing a couple of the many letters sent by grateful families after they learned that their hospital bills were covered.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“I kid you not, I lost it”

To all who helped,

I have been in contact with a couple different people discussing financial help for my daughter’s outstanding bills. We didn’t know where the money would come from with all that has recently happened in our family.

We just received a letter from Seattle Children’s saying the remainder balance will be paid by Seattle Children’s. I kid you not, I lost it when I read the letter. I just hugged my husband and could not stop crying. You really have NO idea what this means to me and our family.

Words do not do justice to express our gratitude. We are forever grateful. We have donated to Children’s multiple times, but are just in a rut right now. Looks like what goes around comes around. Thank you, thank you!

God bless all of you!

The McKinneys

“Thank you for being a hospital that helps families who need help”

As first-time parents, my wife and I are naturally paranoid about bad things happening to our daughter, Reiko. We’re kind of helicopter parents when it comes to that. Reiko is a bright, beautiful girl that we love very much.

It was on a December evening that we saw Reiko swallow something foreign, but didn’t know what it was. We could tell she was choking on it, but was crying so we knew she could still breathe. Paranoid out of our minds, we called 911 and an ambulance took us to Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. They did X-rays and found a coin in her little throat.

Evergreen did not have the resources to do the operation, so they transferred her to Children’s. You would think that a feeling of panic would come over my wife and me. However, a different feeling of hope and relief existed.

We knew many of our friends and family who needed the help of Children’s and had nothing but outstanding things to say. After spending the night in the ER, we had the nickel removed, and Reiko was eating potato chips one hour later.

As a middle-class family living paycheck to paycheck, we knew the cost of the “nickel” would be a little more than 5 cents. We are extremely grateful for you in helping our family with the costs. We want to thank you for being a hospital that helps families who need help.

It is difficult to express in words how grateful we are for all the nurses, doctors, X-ray technicians and staff that helped us. Just know Children’s will always have a special place in our hearts. Thank you again for helping our family.

Sincerely,

Scott, Erin and Reiko Heyamoto

Learn more about ways to donate to Seattle Children’s.