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How surgical errors are actually making hospitals money

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a report last year that depicted an upsetting trend: When surgeons make a medical mistake, hospitals make more money. Those errors can include the following:

  • Misidentifying which part of the body needs an operation
  • Leaving a sponge inside a body
  • Improperly administering medication

The results of such mistakes often include further hospitalization and medical attention. The JAMA study reviewed more than 34,000 people who had surgery at 12 hospitals. Of those patients, more than 1,800 had preventable complications arising from medical negligence. Those conditions led to a median hospital stay of 14 days, which is quadruple the stay of someone without such complications.

As hospitals have to provide more care, they end up billing an insurance company for more money. The JAMA report reveals that a hospital’s revenue from someone without the complications averages $18,900. When looking at instances of medical mistakes, hospitals averaged $49,400 in revenue off the affected patients.

Even more frightening than hospitals making money from mistakes is that it happens more often than patients may think. A report in American Medical News cites that 80 United States patients will experience a surgical error every week, which translates to one instance of negligence in every 12,248 surgeries.

Experts state that the system that allows for hospitals to make money off these mistakes also prevents them from making improvements, as those fixes can end up costing more money. Patients have a right to feel they are in good hands when having an operation. Permitting a facility to financially profit from someone’s suffering should be rectified immediately.

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