Ryan Grassley posted a photo of the hospital bill online and the news created a major stir on Reddit.
“I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born,” said the Reddit caption, alongside the picture of the hospital bill.
The itemized statement lists, among other charges, $39.95 for “skin to skin after C-sec.”
A Reddit user called FiftySixer left a comment identifying themselves as a labour and delivery nurse, and suggested the need for staff to supervise could be the reason for the charge.
“Doing ‘skin to skin’ in the operating room requires an additional staff member to be present just to watch the baby,” FiftySixer wrote. “‘Skin to skin’ in the OR is a relatively new thing and requires a second labour and delivery RN to come in to the OR and make sure the baby is safe.”
Grassley said overall the experience at the hospital was a pleasant one, and he only decided to post the photo because he thought the absurdity of the charge would make people laugh.
The fee technically wasn’t for Grassley to hold his baby, said Janet Frank, spokeswoman for Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah, but to have an additional nurse present in the hospital recovery room for C-section patients to ensure mother and baby were safe.
“There is never a charge for a patient to hold their baby,” Frank said.
Grassley has set up a GoFundMe account to cover the “ridiculous” $40 fee, and in the description said any additional money that is donated will go toward another medical procedure: a vasectomy.
“Any money donated over the $39.35 will be put toward a vasectomy because I never want to go through these sleepless new baby nights again,” the fundraising pages states.
The total charge for the birth is listed as $13,280.49 USD.
With files from the Associated Press