It’s kind of a weird subject, I know, but death — the actual series of injections and subsequent cremation — can be pretty pricey. You might wonder why that might be, considering the low cost of generic injections. And how hard is it, exactly, to burn a body to an ashy vestige of its former self?
You may well wonder what possessed me to write on this morbidly touchy subject.
A few months back one of my clients popped into the hospital to show me an interesting piece of paper — her invoice for euthanasia and cremation at a local emergency hospital:
Office call: $98
IV catheter: $75
IV sedation: $42
IV euthanasia solution: $80
Private cremation: $350 (ashes boxed in a cardboard container)
Omigod! I had no idea pet death could be so expensive! And this was for a cat! How could I have existed in this industry for so long without having encountered this?
I guess it’s no surprise that emergency hospitals significantly mark up all their services. Emergency euthanasia isn’t exactly a convenience issue — usually — but hospitals that are open when no one else is available, even if just for euthanasia, certainly deserve a premium for their services. Somehow though, it seems rude for this premium to run into the high hundreds.
I checked around, and it seems we’re one of the few hospitals in the area that…
1. Do not charge an office call for a euthanasia appointment, and…
2. Do not markup charges on cremation services.
In our office the same procedure would have cost…
IV Catheter: $25
IV Sedation: $20
IV Euthanasia solution: $20
Private cremation: $150
I don’t begrudge others their prices or their income. But I have a philosophy on pricing death: It’s uncouth to hit up your clients for a huge bill when their pet has just died.
Maybe I’m naïve. Perhaps we have to cover our costs more aggressively than we currently do. Indeed, I know few hospital owners who take home less than my two colleagues. And they’ve been practicing for over thirty-five years in this same location. (I hope they don’t read this!)
Are we doing something wrong? I think we are, but I’d hasten to add that marking up euthanasia is not the right place to start making some better money. But that's just me.
Dr. Patty Khuly