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Hospital Charges Florida Woman Jeannette Parker Nearly $50,000 For Stray Cat Bite

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An animal lover in Florida suffered from a bleeding finger and a hole in her wallet after helping a stray cat.

Bitten By Stray Cat

When Jeannette Parker saw a skinny cat in a rural area outside Everglades National Park in Florida, she decided to give the seemingly hungry animal some food. She gave tuna to the cat. The feline, however, thanked her by biting her finger.

Parker cleaned the wound but was worried about rabies since there was a health alert issued by the department of health in Miami-Dade County at the time. She went home in the Florida Keys and called the health department, which was unfortunately closed.

She then proceeded to the emergency room at Mariners hospital, where she spent about two hours in the emergency room. She received two different types of injections and an antibiotic, but never talked with a doctor.

"I went home happy as a clam," she said.

It turned out, however, that Parker's ordeal isn't over.

$48,512 ER Bill

When the bills came, she realized she was charged $48,512, of which $46,422 was for the antibody booster alone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, treatment such as Parkers, which includes the immune globulin and the four doses of vaccine given over a period of two weeks, can cost more than $3,000 on average, but hospitals can set their own price.

Richard Evans, a drug industry analyst at SSR Health, said the average wholesale price for the vaccine is $361.26 per milliliter. That should have costed $4,300 for Parker's 12-milliliter dose, a far cry from the $46,422 she was billed.

Parker was insured through the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) because her husband works for the federal government at Everglades National Park.

After negotiated discounts, the plan paid $34,618 of Parker's ER bill. She still had to pay $4,191 out of pocket for the final $344 of her deductible for the year plus her 10 percent share of the charges that her insurer accepted.

"My funeral would have been cheaper," she said.

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