A bottle of formula, a Band-Aid and a nap cost $18,000, according to a family whose son was treated at a San Francisco hospital after a head injury. Vox.com reported that a family from touring the Bay Area from South Korea was visiting in 2016 when their baby boy fell off a hotel bed and hit his head. The baby never lost consciousness, but was crying hysterically. Doctors determined that the eight-month-old was fine. The family told the news site that the baby had some formula, took a little snooze and they got on with their vacation after the mother put a small Band-Aid on her son’s nose herself. They even almost forgot it had happened. Two years later, the family said they were handed the bill: $18,836.
… The family was charged more than $15,000 for “trauma activation.” The fee is due to the hospital’s response to a potentially serious visit. These charges can range from $1,000 to $50,000. A trauma fee is the price a trauma center charges when it activates and assembles a team of medical professionals that can meet a patient with potentially serious injuries in the ER. It is billed on top of the hospital’s emergency room physician charge and procedures, equipment, and facility fees. Hospitals defend the charge by essentially saying it costs money to keep a good response team on hand.