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Fereydoun Tavangary

Rushed to the emergency room, surprised by the bill

Volunteer injured doing house renovation

It’s part of my religious belief that human beings are put on this earth to serve others. My whole family volunteers a weekend out of every month.

I created a network of friends and colleagues who get together to do a project for someone in need. It was a summer or two ago when we helped an older woman who had a 100-plus-year-old house that needed some upgrades.

One of the things we wanted to do was move a door from one section of a wall to another. I was cutting the opening with a saw. I’d made a mistake and had disabled the safety mechanism and the saw kicked back on me. It was so powerful that it came down on top of my knee and cut a deep gash. One of the guys took me to the local hospital’s emergency room. They cleaned the wound and then a nurse practitioner came in and stitched it and told me how to take care of it.

I thought my bill was going to be a couple of hundred, maybe $400 or $500. I got a bill for $2,000. I was shocked. I thought it was a mistake.

But the bill was itemized. Using the room was so much, the injection so much, and the supplies. Added up to $1,996. My insurance had a high deductible so, it was up to me to pay.

I called the hospital and they refused to negotiate. They told me: “You can pay right now and we won’t send you to collections.” Their goal was to get their hands on the money, they didn’t care.

Months later, after I paid the first one, I got another bill for about $1,000 from a doctor. I wasn’t familiar with the doctor. I called the billing company, which was out-of-state, and I said: “Hey I don’t know who this doctor is and I didn’t see a doctor.” They said call the hospital. I did that and they said: “Oh, yes, that’s the on-call doctor.”

I ended up paying that as well.

What did I learn? We rushed to the emergency room. I probably should have looked and researched a little bit, and I probably should have asked about costs. I also should have considered one of those walk-in, urgent care clinics that are in shopping centers and not hospitals. Then it would have cost under $400 to do the same thing. I probably should have done my homework.

“I was shocked. I thought it was a mistake.”