Family visiting San Francisco says hospital charged $18,000 to treat baby with bottle, nap

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A mom says she didn't expect to receive a hospital bill for more than $18,000 after her baby was treated with a bottle of formula and a nap at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

The family was visiting San Francisco in 2016 when her 8-month old son fell off the bed in the family's hotel room and hit his head, according to Vox and Kaiser Health News.

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There was no blood, but the baby was inconsolable. The child's parents were worried their baby might have an injury, so they called 911.

The doctors at the hospital quickly determined the baby was fine -- just a little bruising on his nose and forehead.

"He took a short nap in his mother's arms, drank some infant formula and was discharged a few hours later with a clean bill of health. The family continued their vacation, and the incident was quickly forgotten," the report says.

What happened next left the family in awe. They received a bill in the mail saying they owed the hospital $18,836. The bulk of the fee for $15,666 labeled "trauma activation," also known as "a trauma response fee."

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, according to Vox and Kaiser Health News.

SFGH spokesman Brent Andrew defended the hospital's fee of over $15,000.

"We are the trauma center for a very large, very densely populated area. We deal with so many traumas in this city -- car accidents, mass shootings, multiple vehicle collisions," Andrew told Vox and Kaiser Health News. "It's expensive to prepare for that."
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