Patients Generally Left on Financial Hook When Surgeries Go Wrong

If you buy something and it breaks, you take it back and either get a replacement or get your money back. If you pay for a service and the repair ends up breaking soon after the work is done, the individual who made the repair generally comes back and fixes it. That’s how the real world works. 

That’s not how the healthcare world works. And a published report goes into great detail about how a woman has had to deal with the financial consequences of a situation that nobody wants to accept responsibility for. 

A 63-year-old woman broke her leg while skiing in February. She had surgery to stabilize the two broken bones in her leg where doctors implanted two metal plates. But four months after the surgery, the woman was still in pain. An X-ray showed that one of the plates had broken. Another surgery was performed to replace the broken plate. 

But then a bill came for the second surgery — $43,208. This was on top of the $52,587 that the hospital charged for the first operation. The woman’s insurance company covered $76,783 of the $99,159, but the woman was forced to pay $18,442 — including $7,808 for the second surgery — out of her own pocket. 

Interestingly enough, medical devices, such as the plates that were used, do not come with warranties. 

The hospital appears unwilling to consider giving the woman a break on the second surgery, even though the doctor said the woman did nothing wrong that would have caused the plate to fail. The woman’s insurance company said it would try to negotiate on her behalf.

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