Paying for a Surgeon's Error?
There are certain things that should never happen in a surgical theater. While patients in Cleveland may have their own personal lists, Medicare has whittled it down to nine. They range from falls in the operating room to a wound reopening after surgery to serious pressure ulcers (better known as bed sores) to collapsed lungs caused by medical treatment. The one that likely frightens people in Ohio the most, however, is having surgical instruments left in a patient.
Most people don’t need to be told that this should never happen, but, sadly it happens far more than we may think. Just because it is a never event does not mean that surgeons still aren’t leaving things in patients on a daily basis. When all surgical mistakes are added up, there are approximately 39 happening each week.
So, when something like a doctor leaving a surgical instrument in a patient does happen, who pays for the corrective surgery? Though everyone thinks it should be the doctor who left the instrument there, it is often the patient. There are a number of patients who have to actually pay for any medical treatment they need to correct another physician’s mistakes, which is why many people dealing with this kind of medical negligence choose to file medical malpractice lawsuits.
It is utterly ridiculous to charge a patient for surgery when the cause for the surgery is another doctor’s negligence. When the cause is a surgical never event, like leaving a surgical instrument in the patient, there is even more of a reason to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.