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BANGKOK 21 July 2019 20:11
crs

Hospital charging for their doctors mistakes?

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Posted (edited)

My wife has just had a (laparoscopic) hysterectomy at  (Hospital name) as diagnosed with cervical cancer. The doctor/surgeon severed a ureter during the operation - this was spotted at the time and repaired with use of a stent. The doctor apologized for the mistake and said, without it being suggested, they would discount their service charge. 

At payment before checking-out, the hospital billed well over (about +100k THB) the original price range quoted for the operation - apparently in an attempt to cover the additional costs that this mistake added onto surgery, etc. (My wife was in surgery for approximately 7 hours - another surgeon was brought in to do the repair.) (Hospital name) staff weren't able to explain why they were charging a patient for costs arising from their own doctor's (serious) mistake.

After being told an amount no more than originally quoted would be paid, they brought the total down to the maximum of the original quote range. (The doctor's request to discount charges was acknowledged but dismissed as ‘that wasn’t his choice to make’.)

This process of communication/organization actually involved much repeated walking and talking to many staff at the hospital - as well as having to deal with a health insurance company who were not happy how the pre-arranged figures had risen and so demanded additional information before agreeing any payout… It lasted most of the day - only just completing before my wife had to go catch a plane home. My wife was obviously in a weakened state at this time - easily seen/known by staff. (Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there and help as was at home looking after our young daughter.)

There is additional upset, worry, pain, difficulty and recovery time over that of the hysterectomy due to the severed/repaired ureter. Although damage to the ureter is a risk during hysterectomies, I had hoped for better quality surgery at (Hospital name) , all things considered... Luckily they dealt with the severed ureter straight away (many a malpractice case for when hospitals/doctors haven't) and, if the repair work is satisfactory, hopefully my wife will be none the worse off long-term.

 

I’m posting an account of this event here as I find the way (Hospital name) tried to charge a patient for the consequences of their doctors mistake, unethical and possibly illegal - and how they dealt with (ie. tried to hussle) my wife as she left the hospital (debilitated) fairly disgusting. I think others should be made aware… (Apparently the front-desk cashiers were helpful enough - it was those of a higher position that put the bill together who these staff had to keep calling for them to decide things that I view as responsible.)

Edited by Sheryl
Hospital name remioved due to defamation laws

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It was really between the hospital and the insurance company to resolve.

Sorry, any complaint by you should be minimal as things were made good.

Mistakes happen during surgery.  That is why you sign all those forms and it is called "practicing medicine".

Glad everything worked out hope your wife's recovery goes smoothly.

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Posted (edited)


No - the patient is charged and (hospital name) had already quoted. As typical, an insurance company pays commensurate to a total and according to policy details.
Things weren't made 'good' - additional injury, pain, risk, etc was caused.
Mistakes happen - trying to bill those who didn't cause them for costs involved in repairing them is not ethical and possibly illegal.

Edited by Sheryl
Hospitak name removed due to defamation laws
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It looks like a ob for a lawyer here, need to find out what are the hospital's liability coverage and how your case fit into it and go for a lawsuit demanding compensation for pain and sufferings...

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Hard to believe they would charge the patient for that...or is it, we are in Thailand after all

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5 hours ago, ezzra said:

It looks like a ob for a lawyer here, need to find out what are the hospital's liability coverage and how your case fit into it and go for a lawsuit demanding compensation for pain and sufferings...

 

While people have succeeded in getting malpractice settlements in Thailand these are on a much, much smaller scale than in the West. Nothing for "pain and suffering", no punitive damages, at best you get reimbursed for costs incurred. And usually do better settling out of court.

 

OP could request a meeting with hospital management to pursue the issue if desired. But any refund will be made to the insurance company as apparently they paid the bill.

 

Hospital name has been removed from the OP due tioThailand's strict defamation laws. In addition what has been described could happen in pretty much any hospital here...except that in many cases the patient would nto be told what had happened, sounds like an unusually honest doctor.

 

Severing uterer is a known complication of this surgery.  Without having been in the OR it is impossible to know if doctor's skill or technique contributed or not. Sometimes there are unexpected variations in individual anatomy.

 

There is no law against the way the hospital billed.  It was poor client relations/poor risk management  on the part of the hospital, and some would consider it unethical but it was not in any way illegal.

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Posted (edited)

Insurance paid for some of the bill - up to the maximum covered for such events - not all.

 

I've not indicated any intention to pursue a claim of malpractice - but I have stated fact regarding the hospital trying to charge considerably more than quoted when the only additional complications/work arose from their own doctors mistake. As I said, I see this as unethical and possibly illegal...

 

(I also note they are a paid advertiser on this forum.)

Edited by crs

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Is that the hospital name in the topic.......?:whistling:

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1 minute ago, crs said:

Insurance paid for some of the bill - up to the maximum covered for such events - not all.

 

I've not indicated any intention to pursue a claim of malpractice - but I have stated fact regarding the hospital trying to charge considerably more than quoted when the only additional complications/work arose from their own doctors mistake. As stated, I see this as unethical and possibly illegal... (I also note they are a paid advertiser on this forum.)

 

Again - no such law exists.

 

Hosptal name removal has nothing to do with sponsorship. It is to protect the forum - and the posters - from prosecution for defamation.

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Posted (edited)

There's no law or regulations against businesses/hospitals billing more than quoted to cover extra work/cost their staff caused through accident/mistakes resulting in greater pain, rehabilitation and ongoing risk?

Edited by crs

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7 minutes ago, crs said:

There's no law or regulations against businesses billing more than quoted to cover extra work/cost their staff caused through accident/mistakes resulting in greater pain, rehabilitation and ongoing risk?

 

The quote you received would have been for an uncomplicated procedure and I am sure that caveat was given, it always is. Quoted prices do not include care required due to any complications.

 

Quotes are also not binding contracts. Just best estimate.  It is not unusual for actual costs to be different (though in the case of insurance companies, who will have given a Guarantee of Payment based on the quote, the hospital will have to provide justification if an overrrun).

 

As long as the bill accurately reflected the care given no law was broken.

 

I agree the hospital should have acted differently, but they did not break any law.

 

One of the considerations may have been the need to pay the other surgeon brought in, who was in no way responsible for the problem and provided essential medical care.

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The hospital original gave a max and min range as a quote - they asked for considerably more then that. I will try to look into the 'small print' and I'll also try to find a regulatory body (govt, legal or medical) to check the legalities... 

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