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Sarah Witter had two operations to repair bones in her lower left leg after a skiing accident last February. The second surgery was needed to replace a stabilizing plate that broke. Matt Baldelli for KHN hide caption

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Matt Baldelli for KHN

Sarah Witter fractured two bones in her lower left leg while skiing in Vermont last February. She had two operations to repair the damage. The second surgery was needed to replace a metal plate that broke after it was implanted. Matt Baldelli for KHN hide caption

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Matt Baldelli for KHN

Bill Of The Month: $43,208 For Repeat Surgery To Replace Broken Medical Device

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Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans hasn't needed device reps' help since it started using technology from a company called Sight Medical that handles inventory management. Courtesy of Sight Medical hide caption

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Courtesy of Sight Medical

Sales Reps May Be Wearing Out Their Welcome In The Operating Room

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For severe heart failure patients, an LVAD, or left ventricular-assist device, helps the heart pump blood. 7asmin via Wikimedia Commons hide caption

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7asmin via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Vigil, an oil contractor from Douglas, Wyo., traveled 250 miles to Denver to have his aortic valve replaced in May. He said he would have preferred his local hospital do the procedure. Courtesy of Michael Vigil hide caption

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Courtesy of Michael Vigil

"As bad as NYU is, Aetna is equally culpable because Aetna's job was to be the checks and balances and to be my advocate," said Michael Frank, seen at his home in Port Chester, N.Y. Annie Tritt for ProPublica hide caption

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Annie Tritt for ProPublica

An X-ray of Sherry Young's foot shows the four implanted screws — each of which cost more than a high-end computer. Courtesy of Sherry Young hide caption

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Courtesy of Sherry Young

Eleven days after surgery on her shoulder and foot, Sherry Young of Lawton, Okla., got a letter from her insurance plan saying that it hadn't approved her hospital stay. The letter "put me in a panic," says Young. The $115,000-plus bill for the hospital stay was about how much Young's home is worth, and five times her annual income. Nick Oxford for Kaiser Health News hide caption

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Nick Oxford for Kaiser Health News

Sticker Shock Jolts Oklahoma Patient: $15,076 For 4 Tiny Screws

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The Bridge, a medical device worn behind the ear, delivers electronic pulses to ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Maria Fabrizio for NPR hide caption

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Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Questions Raised About Study Of Device To Ease Opioid Withdrawal

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Jared Haley, general manager of the C-Axis plant in Caguas, Puerto Rico, says computer-operated milling machines like this one can cost more than a half-million dollars. Heat and humidity in the plant after Hurricane Maria left many of the machines inoperable, Haley says. Greg Allen/NPR hide caption

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Greg Allen/NPR

Puerto Rico's Medical Manufacturers Worry Federal Tax Plan Could Kill Storm Recovery

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MedStar Health clinic in Washington, D.C. An affiliated MedStar hospital is just one of many facilities throughout the U.S. that have been hit with shortages of certain medications because of recent hurricane damage to manufacturers in Puerto Rico. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images hide caption

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Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Hurricane Damage To Manufacturers In Puerto Rico Affects Mainland Hospitals, Too

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Pricking your fingers may someday be a thing of the past for diabetics as new technologies aim to make blood sugar regulation more convenient. Alden Chadwick/Getty Images hide caption

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Alden Chadwick/Getty Images

The good old reflex hammer (like this Taylor model) might seem like an outdated medical device, but its role in diagnosing disease is still as important as ever. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

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Meredith Rizzo/NPR