West Palm Beach, Florida (JusticeNewsFlash.com –News Report) – What if your doctor directed radiotherapy to or operated on the wrong part on your body, amputated the wrong limb, transfused the wrong blood type, who would pay for the medical costs? Many times the patients have been billed for these mistakes that should have never happened, but now, hospitals in 23 states have agreed to pay for their own negligence – and rightly so.
Why the remaining states in the nation have not followed suit is a mystery to many patients, especially Mrs. Canakaris whose brother Blake Oliver, passed away because he was given A+ blood instead of O+ during a simple transfusion. Why should that Florida hospital be paid for this huge mistake? Another example is that of Kevin Baccam of Urbandale, Iowa. Baccam underwent hernia surgery in August 2005, and to his surprise, he had two scars on either side of his groin because the surgeon mistakenly operated on the left and had to start over. A few weeks later, a letter arrived which stated his health insurance had been billed for both operations.
Shockingly, there are 1,300 to 2,700 wrong-site procedures performed in the U.S. each year, according to a 2006 study in the Archives of Surgery. Only four states have agreed to waive few for these avoidable events and a few other states have composed lists of non-billable errors. Even insurance companies such as Cigna, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield have announced that they will no longer pay for such preventable mistakes. A proposed added benefit in these changes is that the hospitals will be more careful and accountable for their wrongs.
The National Quality Forum, a nonprofit health care safety agency, has created a list of 28 so-called “never events” that detail avoidable errors. The list includes the following injuries, infections or conditions:
1. Surgery on the wrong body part.
2. Surgery on the wrong patient.
3. Wrong surgical procedure performed on a patient.
4. Object left in patient after surgery.
5. Death of patient who had been generally healthy during or immediately after surgery for a localized problem.
6. Patient death or serious disability associated with the use of contaminated drugs, devices or biologics.
7. Patient death or serious disability associated with the misuse or malfunction of a device.
8. Patient death or serious disability associated with intravascular air embolism.
9. Infant discharged to wrong person.
10. Patient death or serious disability associated with patient disappearing for more than four hours.
11. Patient suicides or attempted suicide resulting in serious disability.
12. Patient death or serious disability associated with a medication error.
13. Patient death or serious disability associated with transfusion of blood or blood product of the wrong type.
14. Maternal death or serious disability associated with labor or delivery in a low-risk pregnancy.
15. Patient death or serious disability associated with the onset of hypoglycemia, a drop in blood sugar.
16. Death or serious disability associated with failure to identify and treat hyperbilirubinemia, a blood abnormality, in newborns.
17. Severe pressure ulcers acquired in the hospital.
18. Patient deaths or serious disability due to spinal manipulative therapy.
19. Patient death or serious disability associated with an electric shock.
20. Any incident in which a line designated for oxygen or other gas to be delivered to a patient contains the wrong gas or is contaminated by toxic substances.
21. Patient death or serious disability associated with a burn in the hospital.
22. Patient death associated with a fall suffered in the hospital.
23. Patient death or serious disability associated with the use of restraints or bedrails.
24. Any instance of care ordered by or provided by someone impersonating a physician, nurse, pharmacist or other licensed health care provider.
25. Abduction of a patient.
26. Sexual assault on a patient.
27. Death or significant injury of a patient or staff member resulting from a physical assault in the hospital.
28. Artificial insemination with the wrong donor sperm or donor egg.
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Jana Simard is a contributing writer for Justice News Flash with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. Born in Canada, but raised in sunny south Florida, Jana had an early passion for writing. During her high school and college years she interned at a Florida Congressman's office as well as a Rhode Island Governor and Senator's office. While in her last two years of college, Jana spent six months in Salamanca, Spain where she truly discovered her passion for writing and had her articles published in her school's newspaper. Her experience in two Providence high profile law firms has equipped her with the ability to write for Justice News Flash as a Legal Reporter.