Cure for woman's scorpion sting costs $83K

A giant hairy scorpion is seen at the Phoenix Zoo Aug. 13, 1999. AP GraphicsBank

(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - An Arizona woman is wondering what hurt more: getting stung by a scorpion or seeing her hospital bill after treatment.

Marcie Edmonds says the bill from Chandler Regional Medical Center was more than $83,000. That includes two doses of anti-venom at nearly $40,000 per dose.

The Arizona Republic says Edmonds' insurer has paid more than $57,000 and the suburban Phoenix hospital is asking Edmonds for the balance of about $25,000.

The 52-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills resident was stung in June while opening a box of air conditioner filters in her garage.

Edmonds says an emergency room doctor told her about the Mexican anti-venom Anascorp that could quickly relieve her symptoms, but she was never told about the cost.

Chandler Regional says Edmonds' bill represents the out-of-network costs for her treatment.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Anascorp for use in treating scorpion-sting patients last summer, CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV reports. It's the first drug to receive federal approval for that use.

FDA approval was the culmination of a nearly 12-year collaboration of academic and clinical researchers with partners in business and industry from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, KPHO-TV reports.

In Arizona, about 8,000 scorpion stings occur each year, KPHO-TV reports. Several hundred of these result in serious nerve poisoning and require medical treatment. Nearly all of these patients are young children, whose breathing may be severely affected by the effects of the venom, requiring hospitalization.

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