Hospital sends parents $29,000 bill after son is murdered
Shortly after the funeral of California student Scott Hawkins, who was beaten to death by his college roommate on October 23, his parents received a second shock.
A bill for $29,186.50 arrived from the hospital where Hawkins had been taken after being found unconscious in his dorm room, along with a form letter telling “the patient” that he was considered indigent and should seek further treatment through county health services.
Gerald and Elizabeth Hawkins had been informed by Sacramento State College that their son was already dead when his body was discovered and were not aware that he had received level 5 trauma care for five minutes in the hospital emergency room.
“It was just devastating and insulting,” Gerald Hawkins stated. It’s just hard to grasp for words. My wife and I were near collapse.”
“It was just awful,” Elizabeth Hawkins told CBS13 News. “I don’t think there’s any civilized country, anywhere in the world that would allow the parents of a murdered boy to receive a bill like this. … When you have barely enough energy to finish your sentences, having to sit down and deal with something like this out of the blue is extremely difficult.”
UC Davis Medical Center issued a statement apologizing for the “clerical error” and explaining that “the patient’s death in the emergency department should have been flagged as a death in the outpatient record.” That would have generated a letter of sympathy and a tactful inquiry about the family’s insurance.
Hawkins was a transfer student who had only been rooming for a short time with his alleged attacker, Quran Jones, and it was not clear what prompted the attack. Death was attributed by a representative of the college to “blunt force trauma,” and one police spokesperson said Hawkins had been beaten with a baseball bat, although this has not been confirmed.
When police responded to reports of the disturbance, they found Hawkins unconscious and Jones wielding an eight-inch knife. Jones was shot by police as he advanced with the knife and will be charged with murder when he recovers.