June 17, 2024

Frontline worker hospitalized with COVID-19 has almost $1 million in medical bills

A woman who worked on the frontlines of medicine helping coronavirus patients has been hit with nearly $1 million in medical bills after recovering from a severe bout of COVID-19. 

Shenita Russie, 42, a mobile respiratory therapist from Little Rock, Arkansas, caught the virus while working in Boston at the pandemic’s beginning. She fell ill and was put in a medically-induced coma for a month. 

Shenita Russie (above), a Little Rock medical worker, has been hit with nearly $1 million in medical bills after recovering from coronavirus. (TVH11)

She has since returned home and received very expensive bills for her treatment, telling a local news station, “The bills? They are incredible. I mean it was close to a million dollars just for how sick I was on life support.”

Russie said she shared her story with THV11 because she fell ill before a vaccine was available, and she warned others to get vaccinated so they don’t get sick and end up with exorbitant bills. Experts have put the cost of the average hospital stay for people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 at upwards of $25,000. 

The mother of three told the news outlet she still has breathing problems and sometimes has to walk with a cane. She said she’s had to relearn how to walk. 

Worker’s compensation has helped Russie with medical coverage, but she is still facing momentous bills from The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Baptist Health for her treatment and aftercare. 

A recent survey from the Commonwealth Fund shows that medical bills and debt are on the rise for COVID-19 patients and other Americans who had previous medical bills. “They suffered ruined credit ratings. They were unable to afford basic life necessities like food, heat or their rent,” said lead author Dr. Sara Collins, Commonwealth Fund’s vice president for health care coverage and access.

As for Russie, she is still recovering and battling the effects of “long COVID.” She said that the experience has since caused PTSD and severe depression, and she has still not been able to return to work.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!

About The Author

Past Interviews

Download Our New App!

Umoja Radio Amazon Mobile AppUmoja Radio Amazon Mobile AppUmoja Radio Android Mobile AppUmoja Radio iPhone Mobile AppUmoja Radio iPhone Mobile App