Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove (2000) is ripe with comedy and a not-so-small amount of personal injury. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading this blog right now and go watch it. I’m serious. I’ll wait…If you still haven't seen it but are still reading this blog, I’ll summarize the movie for you but just know: I’m not happy about it. The Emperor’s New Groove follows the fun-loving, egocentric, rich, powerful ball of charisma, that is Emperor Kuzco. Brimming with arrogance, Kuzco swiftly finds himself transformed into a llama at the hands of his trusted advisor, Yzma. You know, as happens. Stranded in the Peruvian jungle, Kuzco enlists the help of a peasant, Pacha, as the two race to get Kuzco back on the throne to defeat Yzma and crush a few personal demons along the way.
Anyone know the HCPCS Code for “Hijinks Ensued”?
As you can imagine, the process of de-throning and getting rid of an Emperor is no small task. In Act 1, Yzma enlists her assistant Kronk to help her along the way. However, Kronk is… Kronk. Instead of serving Kuzco poison as he was bid, Kronk accidentally administers “Extract of Llama” into Kuzco’s drink, inciting the hijinks of the rest of the film.
Finding “Extract of Llama” within your average CDM was a bit of a challenge, so let’s pretend for a moment that Kuzco was poisoned correctly. This would have likely been some PG poison (It’s a Disney movie). Meaning Kuzco, had he gone to his Royal Physician, would have likely been diagnosed with T 52.8 Toxic Effect: Other organic solvents. He probably would have been given something to make him throw up. Gross.
Disney is a bit closed about Kuzco’s health insurance. So, let’s pretend he’d gone to the Royal ER using Kuzokotopia insurance. Assuming he’s met his deductible and has a 30% co-insurance (he may be emperor, but The Man get’s us all in the end), Kuzco’s insurance allowed amount totals $219.47; induced vomiting (CPT 99175) would have cost him about $65.84.
Death by a thousand cuts and bruises
Moving right along, once Kuzco turns into a llama, he is disposed of by the very same oaf that poisoned him. His journey down from the palace to the road below looks unpleasant, but it’s not until Kuzco is accidentally picked up by everybody’s favorite peasant, Patcha, that Kuzco is injured once more with a few bonks of the head. This would likely cause some serious bruising, solved by ice and rest and no visit to the Royal Physician. Alas, the show must go on.
Arriving at Patcha’s humble abode, Kuzco stares at his reflection only to find that he, in fact, has been turned into a llama. This realization causes him to run and immediately fumble on his new llama legs, hit his head, and become knocked unconscious. You’ll start to see a theme here. A trip back to our RP would earn Kuzco a swift S06.0X9A diagnosis, aka Code for Concussion with loss of consciousness of unspecified duration. The cure here would be rest, but again, this isn’t that kind of movie. Had Kuzco gone to the Royal ER, he would have likely been due for a couple of scans. The average cost of a CT scan at an ER (royal or peasant, both included) would have been about $586.70, meaning Kuzco would have gone back to the palace $176.01 lighter.
Careening down a river
A few scenes later, Kuzco, after admitting he lied about not building Kuzcotopia, also falls through a bridge alongside Patcha. The two hang suspended and begin fist-fighting. The ropes break, they buddy-climb up the mountain, narrowly capture a rope, get covered with scorpions, wake a bat cave, and crash land two feet back where they started.
Let’s pick the most alarming scene of the whole bit: the scorpions. Had Kuzco been stung, he would have been sent to the hospital for a hefty corticosteroid shot. Looks like costs are really starting to add up!
Third Act Ailments
Moving right into the third act, a nail-biting chase across the map ensues where our two heroes are struck by lightning and run at least a marathon through the jungle back to the palace. Having already spent an estimated total of $241.85, Kuzco would have been on the line for another $128.67. Not bad considering it’s been a full ninety minutes of injuries!
A battle for the “human” potion ensues, and in the process, Kuzco turns into a turtle, a toucan, a whale, and back into a llama. Across the palace, down countless flights of stairs, Kuzco and Patcha begin to scale the outside of the palace as a now catified Yzma pursues. Finally, after an exhilarating few minutes, Kuzco ingests the human potion and is finally turned back into his usual self. What a journey! Again, no CPT for “llama to man transformation” but we’ll give Kuzco’s wallet a break at this point and, in three to six months, send him a bill.