A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, Texas Health Resources and Harvard's schools of medicine and public health confirmed something medical malpractice attorneys see frequently: Hospitals can benefit from surgical errors and other medical errors.
The study followed 34,256 people who underwent surgery in 2010, 1,820 of which (more than 5 percent) had preventable complications. Those patients were hospitalized an average of 14 days, costing an average of $30,500 more than the "expected" stay for the patients' procedures.
What does this mean? It means insurance companies, the government and patients are paying for hospitals' malpractice, especially in cases where the malpractice goes unnoticed.
The authors of the study are calling for everyone, including insurers, to quit paying for substandard care and require hospitals to disclose how often surgery complications arise. They worry that hospitals have an incentive to maintain the status quo because working on reducing medical malpractice can negatively affect their bottom lines.
This is just one more reason why it is vital to hold hospitals and medical professionals accountable for medical malpractice. Through a med mal lawsuit, plaintiffs can recover compensation for the money spent on subpar care, but they can do something even greater: they can tell hospitals and doctors that we won't accept that subpar care.
Source: New York Times, "Hospitals Profit From Surgical Errors, Study Finds," Denise Grady, April 16, 2013