One of the reasons, if not THE reason, for Universal Health care is that no one can afford it, as seeing a doctor has become so expensive. This story will illustrate one reason why care has become so expensive. Today's will be the first:
A doctor that I know was working in the Emergency Room of a local hospital. One patient was a 23 year old female complaining of lower abdominal pain with vaginal bleeding. A uterine pregnancy test was negative. The doctor ordered a quantitative blood test to see if the young lady was pregnant. The test showed elevated levels of hCG, but the levels were not high enough to say for certain that the patient was pregnant. A lower abdominal ultrasound did not show any signs of pregnancy. The Doctor was concerned that her problem was an ectopic pregnancy. Calculating from her last period, it was determined that if she was pregnant, it was less than 5 weeks pregnant. After a consult with the on call OB/GYN, it was decided that the female would be sent home with orders to see the OB/GYN in his office in 2 days, so that she could be retested.
The patient never showed up for her follow up visit. Six weeks later, she passed out and was taken to the hospital with a ruptured fallopian tube, caused by an ectopic pregnancy. She filed suit, claiming that the ER doctor was at fault for not following up to ensure that the woman went to her appointment.
In Florida, if a Doctor loses more than three malpractice suits, he loses his license to practice medicine. This makes it highly unlikely that a Doctor will go to trial. This provision of law is a boon to the lawyers who practice in medical malpractice land. This case was no different. The doctor settled out of court for $125,000.
Expenses like these must be passed on to consumers. The costs of these lawsuits are passed on to the consumers in higher prices. Who passes them on? Doctors, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, and anyone else who makes medical equipment, supplies, and devices. Funny how insurance companies and the government, who often decide what procedures and therapies you get, are exempt from lawsuits.