Saturday, November 07, 2009

Student's Parents Stunned by Hospital Bill, Letter

The parents of a Sacramento State student beaten to death by a dorm mate last month said they were stunned to receive a $30,000 bill from the UC Davis Medical Center as well as a letter asking their murdered son not to return because of payment issues.

Gerald and Elizabeth Hawkins said last weekend -- ten days after their son Scott was killed -- they got a bill to their Santa Clara home for $29,186.50 from the UC Davis Medical Center.

In addition to documenting the 5 minutes of emergency room work done, the envelope also included a letter to "the patient," saying Scott Hawkins was considered indigent and shouldn't come back for further treatment.

"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 said.

Hawkins called the letter, delivered to their home just 12 hours after their son's funeral, a harsh blow to the couple's healing process.

"I would say this really torpedoed whatever gains we had made," Hawkins said.

UC Davis spokeswoman Carole Gan apologized for the letter, calling the incident an accident of automation.

"We deeply regret that a clerical error caused them to receive a letter that brought even more distress," Gan said. "The patient's death in the emergency department should have been flagged as a death in the outpatient record."

Gan said the bill should have been sent to the Hawkins' insurance company.

The suspect in Scott Hawkins' killing, 19-year-old Quran Jones, is hospitalized in fair condition at UCD. He was shot by police, and will likely be booked on charges of murder when he recovers.

Gerald Hawkins said that in addition to memorializing his son, he intends to work toward getting hospitals to add a human touch to their automated systems.


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