CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS Local) — A North Carolina man says he’s outraged that he was charged more than $2,300 after he went to the emergency room for a cat scratch.
Shyam Patil of Charlotte said he was scratched by a cat outside his home in September. Since it drew blood, his doctor said he should to the ER to get a rabies shot just in case.
While waiting at the ER, Patil said he googled the cost for rabies vaccinations and was stunned by the results. One article told a story similar to his where a woman was bitten by a cat and was billed more than $40,000.
He also said the nurses and doctors at the ER were unable to provide him a cost estimate.
Scared of what the bill could be, he walked out of the ER without the vaccination.
“Sometimes you feel that, you know what, it’s better to die if you have rabies then to incur this much debt,” Patil told CBS affiliate WBTV.
UNEXPECTED COST: The man didn't even get the rabies vaccination that day, but if he did, the bill shows it would have been an extra $13,048 charged. https://t.co/5EMGJfmjUF
— WBTV News (@WBTV_News) November 20, 2019
Patil soon found out the cat was his neighbor’s pet and it was up to date on his rabies vaccinations.
But a few months later, he was billed $2,300 for a “level 3, emergency department visit.”
“I was like ‘I didn’t even take the shot. What is this bill for?'”
There were additional charges on the bill, including a tetanus shot update that was about to be due and an anti inflammatory pill he took there for the possible rabies exposure. Altogether, the the charges added up to a nearly $2,600.
And if Patil had gotten the rabies vaccination that day, the bill showed it would have cost another $13,048.
Patil said even with his insurance, he still owes a little more than $2,500 for the visit, due at the end of the month.
Atrium Health wouldn’t go into specifics about Patil’s case, citing confidentiality laws, but said some billing charges and do not reflect the actual price that patients would have to pay.
“Patient out-of-pocket costs are often dependent on a number of factors, including co-pays and deductibles,” the company said in a statement.