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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
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Doctors Billing For Medical Malpractice

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There has been a bit of a debate recently about doctors and hospitals billing for services when they commit medical malpractice. Indeed, since last fall, hospitals in 10 states have agreed to waive fees for certain errors called “never events” because experts say they should never happen.

But MSNBC has a new story about a medical malpractice charge that may take the cake. As the story says:

When Kevin Baccam of Urbandale, Iowa, went in for hernia surgery in August 2005, he expected to come home with a scar on the right side of his groin.
But the 33-year-old school district controller actually wound up with two scars in the delicate region — one to each side — after the surgeon mistakenly operated on the left and had to start over.
Nearly as painful, Baccam said, was when he opened his mail a few weeks later and saw his health insurance had been billed for both operations.

It’s one thing to charge for a surgery that you were supposed to perform but simply screwed up. But it’s an entirely separate matter to perform the wrong procedure and then try to bill the patient or his health insurance for the wrong surgery.

I suppose the only “fortunate” thing about this is that there is no better way to get a jury upset and ready to punish a defendant than some egregious conduct like this.