A Debate on Medical Mistake Payments

According to a survey conducted in 2006 by the Archives of Surgery, there are 1,300 to 2,700 medical procedures that went terribly wrong in the United States. This long list of medical mistakes includes wrong site procedures - operating on the wrong person, wrong place, or wrong body part.

Whether it is a healthy organ that was removed, operation on the wrong side of the brain, bypassing the wrong artery, or not administering enough anesthesia, the question remains, who pays for these horrendous medical mistakes? So far, only eleven states in the U.S. have agreed to not charge patients or their health care providers for serious preventable errors on behalf of the medical team. Hospitals should waive fees for these rare errors because they should not have been allowed to happen in the first place and patients should not be punished even further by being pinned the medical bill. However, this isn't the case in reality. Since only 11 states have acknowledged medical mistake waivers, the rest of the states take the position of not paying for these wrongful procedures because they feel that they are accepting total liability in court. That leaves 39 states where patients who suffered from wrongful medical procedures to expect they, or their medical insurance providers to pay for procedures. This should stir a reform for no payment policies to waive all fees to patients who suffered from unexpected removals of organs, amputations, or wrongful operations.

While some states have developed their own lists based on NQF (National Quality Forum) standards, the list outlines a selection of non-billable errors to medical mistakes that will hold the hospital liable. Even still, such lists may or may not accept responsibility for mistakes such as artificial insemination with the wrong donor sperm or egg, or wrongful removal of a body part. It's hard to believe, but since medical mistake payment and liability is not controlled on the federal level, it is up to the states to develop their own process of action when dealing with such cases.

On the Federal level, at least the government has some idea about the statistical numbers attributed to medical errors. Looking at reported Medicare numbers, in 2006 Medicare was sent bills 764 times for foreign objects left behind in a surgery. Each average payment per case was estimated to be about $62,000.

Many patients resonate the same opinion regarding this matter. They should not be charged for any egregious mistakes performed and hospitals should step up and even pay the patients a remuneration or compensation fee for enduring unexpected and often painful procedures.

Regarding health associations and large medical insurance companies, refusing to pay for hospital errors is a way to improve patient safety and cut health costs. Since hospitals cannot charge insurance companies for their mistakes, it might be more of an incentive for hospital practices to take greater precaution in patient care. Medicare has already taken this step and starting in October, will no longer pay costs associated with preventable conditions of patients after they have been hospitalized. Other large medical insurance providers will follow suit.

Finding an Experienced Medical Negligence Solicitor

If you've experienced complications that were caused from medical treatment you've received or from a medical professional's mistake, you might be entitled to medical negligence compensation. To find out whether you are entitled to any compensation, you'll need to find an experienced medical negligence solicitor to help you assess your claim. Fortunately, few medical negligence claims will end up in court and will usually be settled before the trial date, but you will still need a medical negligence expert to help you assess your claim.

You should look into speaking to a solicitor if you feel your treatment has fallen below the level of what is expected, and it is the cause of your injury or suffering. Try and keep a diary of the treatment you've received and describe how you think the care may have fallen below the standard of what is expected. Keeping track of all procedures is useful evidence and will help your medical solicitor making the process easier and quicker. Successful clinical negligence claims include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, anesthetic complications, cerebral palsy due to birth trauma and negligence in accident and emergency departments. You can claim medical negligence compensation against doctors, nurses, surgeons, midwives, carers and even pharmacists - if you have an injury that has been caused by the negligence, and you can prove it, then you have a case. All medical procedures carry risks and patients are informed of all risks before they go through with their treatment. If in the unlikely case the explained risks do occur then you cannot claim for medical negligence.

Medical negligence compensation claims can be complex and difficult to handle, especially if you are in pain or distress from the complications caused. You should contact local support networks who will offer you guidance on the best solicitors in your area, and also to help you through the often stressful process. Contact the Citizen's Advice Bureau to find people who can help you psychologically as well as physically, and you will also be given guidance on benefits you are entitled to if you are unable to work.

When searching for a clinical negligence solicitor, you should find out which solicitors have expertise in claims similar to yours and also if they were successful with their cases. By choosing the wrong solicitor you could receive less than you deserve, or nothing at all. A lot of solicitors will operate on a no win no fee basis, so they will only take on your claim if it is likely to be a success. This shows the solicitor or law firm are confident they will achieve good results. Solicitors offering free consultations are good to choose for the same reasons. If you are browsing the solicitor's website, look for customer testimonials and recommendations. It's also important you have a good rapport with your medical negligence solicitor, you should always be able to speak to them face to face when you need to and if they aren't willing to dedicate any one on one time to you then they're probably not worth your time.