6,000 dollars a minute for your deceased son in the UC Davis Trauma Center

Wow. Just wow:

Hospital bill stuns slain student’s parents

By Sam Stanton

“It was just devastating and insulting,” Gerald Hawkins said Monday. “It’s just hard to grasp for words. My wife and I were near collapse.”

On Saturday, 10 days after Scott Hawkins was beaten to death inside his dormitory at California State University, Sacramento, his parents got a letter in the mail.

It contained a bill from the UC Davis Medical Center for $29,186.50 along with a form letter addressed “Dear Patient” that implied they were indigent and stated that the hospital no longer could provide them services.

“UC Davis can no longer provide follow-up care or any other non-emergency care to you,” it read. “Please go to a County clinic for all non-emergency care or to get a referral to another doctor.”

For Gerald and Elizabeth Hawkins, it was just too much to bear.

So, their son is a victim of a homicide, at the ripe old age of nineteen. In a UC Dorm. No doubt a bright person with an unlimited future, cut tragically short.

Contacted by The Bee on Monday, Carole Gan, a hospital spokeswoman, called the mailing “a mistake.”

You don’t say.

She said she was limited in what information she could provide about the medical care provided to Scott Hawkins, but said he arrived at the emergency room at 3:11 p.m. and was pronounced dead five minutes later.

“The trauma team did everything they could,” Gan said.

I’m more aware than most of the number of people involved in a Trauma Activation, and it’s a lot. Those peoples’ time has to be paid for.  It’s not, or shouldn’t be, $6,000/minute.

I’m also generally but not specifically aware of the obscenity of being sent a bill for nearly $30K for your son’s death. That is horrible, horrific and inexcusable on every level. For shame.


Condolences to the family.


  1. TheNewGuy says:

    Talk about twisting the knife… Eek.

  2. We can hope that what comes out is an accounting of how a bill like this gets assembled.

    5 minutes isn’t time to do any major testing, really only time for some attempt at resuscitation, and apparently not so intense.

    It’s all part of the ugly truth about hospital billing. There may have been a whole host of tests ordered but their results were moot since he had been pronounced dead. Sensible people wouldn’t charge for such things, but billing like this isn’t sensible.

  3. To be fair to the hospital, people die every day, and bills get moved through the system. The people were going to get billed, and the bills were going to make little sense to anyone who doesn’t work for an insurer anyway. Everyone who has been to the hospital for anything should know that.

    The billing people don’t know the circumstances behind every bill that comes through, and the physicians generally don’t have time to keep up with the billing status of every patient. No need to condemn them too heartily.