msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/16/2012 1:58:08 PM ET 2012-01-16T18:58:08

Patients don't normally get sick once they've returned home from the hospital, but one New York resident said he almost became ill when he received a whopping $44.8 million bill from the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center.

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“I almost had an asthma attack,” Alexis Rodriguez, 28, told The New York Daily News.

Rodriguez, a doorman who is currently unemployed, is one of several hundred patients getting billed for tens of millions of dollars because of a computer error at the New York City hospital.

He told The Daily News that initially, he thought the bill was legitimate because he had received a large bill last spring when he was hospitalized for pneumonia for three weeks — although that bill was in the tens of thousands of dollars, not millions.

This hospital visit, again for pneumonia, was for outpatient services, reported The Daily News. The $44,776,587 bill should have amounted to no more than $300.

The error occurred beceause the company that prepares the bills had mistakenly put the invoice number in the space where the invoice amount should go.

"We are sending an apology letter to everyone who received" the multi-million dollar bills, PHY Services representative told The Daily News, adding that the company will send out corrected invoices.

The hospital didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday, The Associated Press reported.

Rodriguez told The Daily News that while he was glad he wouldn't be charged more than his actual bill, he was still upset with the company's carelessness.

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“I think they should have somebody look over the bills before they send them out," he said. “I understand manpower may be down, but to send out a lot of bills with numbers that big — someone could have had a heart attack.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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