It's difficult to explain. I don't know enough about it to really outline it. In short, health insurance is expensive. Some people can get it through work, others cant. Still others can get it through work but have to pay varying amounts. (I, for example, pay 140 bucks a month off the top of my check for medical and dental.) A staggering portion of Americans don't have health coverage at all. Sometimes, insurances (particularly those that are provided by the government for low income people) are complicated and picky about the treatments that they'll cover.
As far as I know, Sicko was about showing all the badnesses in the healthcare system. Both of my parents are medical professionals, but I know more about what they do specifically than the details of the system as a whole.
Because she is blinded by the pencil and can't drive, she calls an ambulance: $400-$900, depending. They take her to the ER. $400 ER fee. Then she has to pay for all the tests and medicines that they use to treat her. If they decide she needs to stay in the hospital, she will have to pay for the room she stays in, the meals she eats, and the materials and medicines she uses.
Of course she will be put on prescriptions afterwards to prevent infection and treat her pain, and she will pay for those. Ten days of antibiotics can cost a hundred bucks, easy, and Vicodin costs more than a buck a pill. Mobic for inflammation costs several dollars a pill.
She's not done, of course. She'll have to go to an eye specialist, which will cost another $400, plus whatever the treatments cost to restore her vision. If she needs surgery, the bill is measured in thousands, not hundreds. Glasses are a completely different expense.
Now, because she is uninsured and low income, she will be assigned a case worker who will hep her try to get government insurance and get her whatever discounts on the bills that she can. How much assistance this step garners, I don't know. Of course, if she doesn't pay her bills, they can go to collections, and then her credit rating takes a hit.
So that's what happens as far as I am aware. Nothing exact, of course, but you can see that accident or illness can really hurt someone financially.
That doesn't sound like a very fun process. Seeing as how paying bills is the worst part of the month, I'm sure it doesn't help that an injured person recovering at the hospital has not only physical damage to deal with, but a bill of multiple thousands hanging over them.
If it was me, I'd try and repair my damaged appendage at home rather than spend my next years tuition on it.