Not only did the UC Davis Medical Center send a $29,186.50 bill to the parents of college student who was beaten to death by his roommate, they also sent a letter letting them know that their son was considered indigent and was no longer welcome at the hospital if he needed further treatment. He doesn’t, of course, because he is deceased.
Apparently he also had insurance, and the hospital should have sent the bill to his insurer.
“I can’t believe that in any country besides the U.S., any civilized country, that the parents of a murdered boy would receive this bill for $29,000 and such an insulting letter,” Gerald Hawkins, the victim’s father, told ABC 10 in Sacramento, CA.
The bill in question was for “five minutes in [the hospital’s] emergency room,” says ABC 10, who tried to assess why 5 minutes could cost $29,000.
Scott Seamons with the California Hospital Council said the critical response to Hawkins is what cost the most. He said UC Davis is a Level 1 Trauma Center, which means the best and most expensive doctors were waiting for Scott.
“Whether it was five minutes or 55 minutes doesn’t really matter in the initial review and assessment of the patient,” he said.
Trauma surgeons, nurses, technicians and more had to treat Scott before they realized they couldn’t help, according to Seamons.
“They’re all right there,” he said. “And those are highly trained, highly specialized and highly paid clinical experts. Clearly in the aftermath, in hindsight, they looked at it and determined there was probably less need for that, but in the first five minutes all of those resources were right there at the side of this patient, and they cost a lot of money.”
ABC 10 says that the letter included with the bill instructed the deceased to take his health care needs to a county clinic in the future. The hospital has apologized.