INFECTIONS, LAWSUITS & YOUR HOSPITAL

Like having a hospital within a few miles of your house for emergencies and other medical needs? Well, enjoy it while it lasts. It won’t be around for long if the following assertion in the WSJ is correct:

Hospital infections will cause the next wave of class-action lawsuits, bigger than the litigation over asbestos.

Here’s a news flash: hospitals contain lots of sick people, which means they also contain germs with bad attitudes. It is an unfortunate fact of life that these unpleasant little bugs occasionally go where they have not been invited.

In other words, despite the best efforts of doctors, nurses, and various infection control personnel, patients sometimes get infections to which they would not have been exposed had they not been admitted to the hospital. 

To allow money hungry ambulance chasers personal injury lawyers to use this largely unavoidable reality as a pretext for pillaging hospitals would be both destructive and dumb. Yes, dumb. Here’s how WhiteCoat puts it:

Soon I will file a class action lawsuit against my child’s daycare center for causing her strep throat, her ear infections, and all those stinking head colds … Look out Montessori!

Suing hospitals pursuant to such infections is WAY dumber than suing the local Montessori school. If a lawsuit bankrupts the school, it’s an inconvenience. If  your local hospital goes belly up, it could cost you your life.

Think your local hospital can’t go belly up? Here’s a clue: financial pressures have reduced the number of community hospitals from about 7,000 in 1980 to fewer than 5,000 today.  Yours can close as well.

Needless to say, all of this is the direct result of government meddling in health care. By imposing its idiotic never event policy, Medicare has legitimized the absurd notion that a visit to the hospital can and should be risk-free.

That’s BS, but the apparatchiks who dreamed it up care only about their new-found pretext for withholding payment from hospitals, and it will provide license for further depredations by parasites personal injury lawyers.

Buckeye Surgeon says this WSJ piece sent chills down his spine. And well it should. In the absence of national tort reform, this kind of nonsense will wreck the community hospital system.

[HT Kevin,MD

Comments 2

  1. Marc B. wrote:

    ‘It is an unfortunate fact of life that these unpleasant little bugs occasionally go where they have not been invited.’

    ‘Occasionally?’ You have one of the highest rates of hospital acquired infections in the developed world!

    Posted 20 Aug 2008 at 4:24 pm
  2. SmartDoc wrote:

    “Never Events” are also a form of euthanasia, whereby certain severe conditions become anathema to doctors and hospital, due to their known high risk for pressure wounds, infections, etc. If no one treats you (for a treatable serious disorder), you die.

    This nightmare is created by bureaucratic fiat outside of the science of Evidence Based medical practice.

    Legislative remedies for these “Never Events” atrocities is needed.

    Posted 21 Aug 2008 at 2:15 am

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