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Physicians making mistakes!

To tell you the truth, I have read more posts on this forum about doctors making mistakes and its scary!
Not markng "Xmarks the spot" before surgery, injections and surgeries at the wrong level, broken screws etc...
What gives?
Is this just happening with spine surgeries?

Is this the norm in our health care these days?
Will it get worse with the new messed up Health Care Act?
Are malpractice cases on the rise?



  • I think it all preventable, and they have safeguards in place, but when a mistake happens it a failure on several levels, the Dr, RN, the surgical tech, they are all suppose to be checking each other and double checking test results. I know on with my previous sugeries they make the x while I am awake in preop and everyone asks me what procedure I am there for. I know several times I have had to correct a Dr while going over my hx.
  • I used to get annoyed by all the different people asking me exactly what surgery I was there for. I guess after hearing all of these stories it's a good thing when they ask you so many times. When I had knee surgery I marked my good leg with wrong leg. But surgeon still wrote yes on the knee he operated on. But it's a little harder for us to mark our own backs. I think it's better to be first case in the morning that way everyone is awake and hasn't seen a bunch of other people to confuse them. Due to latex allergy I am always first in the morning and have never had any problems and I've had 7 surgeries in the last 5 years and still not done :(
    Acdf C5 C6 12/13/12
    Laminectomy and Discectomy L5 S1 12/12/13
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    You have to take a look at the total picture. You also have to take into account the quality and expertise level of your surgeons. And you can never not take into account the supporting medical-staff that is involved during your surgery.

    There are good surgeons as well as great surgeons as well as mediocre or less. That is why it is so very important to make sure that the surgeon who is going to do the operation and the staff involved are the best.

    They say that the safest way to travel is air transportation. The number of accidents per miles traveled is much less than other means of transportation. I've always had a problem with that, only in the fact that the number of accidents may be lower, but the number of deaths and serious injured are much higher.

    Take this. There are good car mechanics and then there are the ones not so good. You bring you car for service, the good mechanic fixes the problem and also checks for other potential problem areas. Then we have the sloppy mechanic who just wants to fix the original problem as quickly as possible and may overlook some obvious problems.

    The healthcare programs and health insurance packages available today really have no influence into the quality of the surgeon who is going to perform your surgery.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • You also have to factor in a certain percentage of bias. Typically, those who post on the boards have had or continue to have issues. People who had good outcomes seem less likely to stay in a support forum environment. That's not saying anything negatively about people who do stay here, quite the contrary. Each person relies on others to help them through a difficult time. Who better to provide the support than the folks who have gone through similar situations.

    Regarding the ACA - healthcare is NOT going to improve. Before I get slammed for being anti-Obama, let me explain. The concept behind the ACA is admirable. In a perfect world, everyone would have access to specialists. But, in the case of the ACA, it was hastily written, no oversight and passed without anyone reading it. As time goes on, everyone is learning just how much this law is going to affect, good or bad.

    Working in healthcare I can tell you we are in BIG trouble! Hospitals are cutting staff left and right, doctors are under more pressure than ever because if they "over" treat a patient, they will be fined. If they "under" treat, they will be fined and if you get re-admitted to a hospital within 30 day of discharge, the receiving hospital can be fined up to and over 1 MILLION dollars per occurrence based on percentage of care provided. So lets say you go to Hospital A for treatment. You go home and start feeling bad again and go to Hospital B, because you decide Hospital A didn't do enough for you. When the ICD 10 code gets entered into the system that the government now see's, it will be a duplicate code within 30 days of discharge and Hospital B get's fined EVEN though they didn't provide the original treatment. With this kind of crap going on, how long do you think hospitals will stay in business?

    There are too many cases and "what if's" to discuss here. I HIGHLY recommend everyone take the time to learn about the ACA. When you learn just how intrusive the government is now going to be in your life, it will scare the bejesus out of you.

    Happy Friday!
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Helen3Helen3 Posts: 205
    edited 11/22/2013 - 7:58 AM
    I cannot work. Disability not approved yet. Can't get on Medicaid. Georgia did not expand their program.

    I have no money to get Obama care even if I wanted it.

    I get "indigent " care right now. Which is minimal.

    I'm not sure what they expect ppl like me to do.
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 263
    edited 11/22/2013 - 6:59 PM
    Not sure what will happen to the very small business. $1854.00 per month for 2 people. Each with a 2500.00 deductible. Once met 100 percent. Now husbands has health issues but won't spend his 2500, business can't afford this. Stopped working June 24 th since surgery was on the 25th. As of right now another 3.1 percent come Jan. 1 for healthcare increase. First week in Jan I blow through the 2500 since I get blood plasma once a month not counting the drugs I take, so guess what I found out before I receive shipment 2500 up front. Can't happen. Has to go through the HSA account jan 2nd and no can do. Never heard of refusing medical treatment until money up front. Maybe I will stop taking it. At this point you can't have anything. What is going on here. I haven't even finished my physical therapy for my cervical fusion. Having 2 more shots for the l5/S1 and last shot 12/27. Just might stop everything and take my chances with 2014.
  • Key word, practice. Just like an athlete, they are trained, practice for long hours before getting into the game, Dr.'s do the same, so many factors, each person is different, not everyone is a textbook case and Dr.'s more often than not do all they can to fix us and everyone seems to be on the lawsuit ban wagon. My Dr. may have waited too long to do my surgery, should have check other areas, so second surgery may not have been needed, but not his fault, he was going by what the films and tests said or shall I say going by whom ever reported on the films and test. Dr.'s do not set out to harm anyone, yet they have so many looking for anything that say malpractice so they can take as much money as possible from their insurance, shame on them, it what has driven shortages of health care providers up, insurances up, costs for medical care up, not to mention the worries in the back of the mind of every surgeon that has dedicated their lives to helping others. If anyone thinks Dr.'s say "this person has poor health care, I'm not going make much money off them, so I'm not going to do a very good job when I open them up, we can cut costs by not using sterile instruments, just wash the ones we used on last patient" or "before we begin, what kind of coverage do they have, want to know if they get my AAA service or budget deal" well, if you think Dr.'s give better service during a surgery to the ones with good coverage, your nuts. Most Dr.'s don't even know what if any, anyone has, they do not concern themselves with those kinds of issues, unless they want to know before they write a script, so they know if their patient will be able to get it or not.
  • thoracic spine painthoracic spine pain Posts: 566
    edited 11/27/2013 - 11:45 PM
    Medicare has some bad points in Australia but everyone, rich to poor, young and old can get treatment for free here. Pensioners get discounts on medicine as do people with disabilities. It is thought that a sophisticated society is judged by how the weakest, most vulnerable people are treated.

    If you are in the public system it may take longer for elective surgery, and you can't choose your specialist but the public hospitals are just as good as the private hospitals here. Specialists also honorarily consult in the public hospitals for free. Some GPs charge more than the Medicare rebate but with what happened to me if I had to to pay my GP every time I had to see him I would be broke. I have been seeing him so long - he takes the medicare rebate for my consults. I have also paid an enormous amount of tax in my lifetime and do not mind it being spent on healthcare or education.

    We also have unemployment benefits that you can live on and disability pensions where you can at least eat and have a roof over your head. Australia is a lucky country.

    You also get a tax break if you contribute to be in the private health system . In an emergency everyone gets the same treatment anyway. They don't wake you out of a stupor to ask whether you are public or private they just try to save your life. Ambulances are also free here as well. It is added on the council rates and isn't that expensive.

    I have lived in the UK and wasn't too impressed with the NHS and ended up using a private system.

    But as there was a nursing dispute at the time I saw what incredibly low wages ward sisters and nurses received. I hope that is more equalised now.

    Interestingly before i read this thread I just got off the phone to a friiend of mine who is a Medical professional. She worked for years in the Public System as she believed that everyone should be entitled to free medical treatment. I would challenge anyone to find a more dedicated, experienced professional.

    I think we have a pretty good system here. I have been both a public and private patient and I believe the public system is every bit as professional and reputable as the private system.

    I might whinge about some doctors but that is because I have a rare spine injury, but Aussie Drs do 7 years of training before they specialise and have to do rotations in the Public system. I think we have some of the most highly trained Dr's and allied health professionals in the world, that it why it is so hard to register as a Dr in Australia if you come from another country.

    But we do not sue easily in this country - especially for medical malpractice - so the insurance for Drs is probably lower here, we don't seem to have the lawsuit mentality that seems to pervade the US. Why don't they look at Australia's healthcare model?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    that here in the USA, no person is turned away from health threatening issues.
    The 911 calls and the responding vehicles pick up ANYONE and will bring them to the nearest hospital for IMMEDIATE treatment. We dont care if they have an Aetna, Cigna, Blue, Green or Yellow card. They will receive the same treatment as anyone else. So, in that regard we have a great system.

    What happens afterwards and in non life threatening situations, the routine checkups, etc, thats a different subject all together. But I could not lump them all into one. I am sorry if I sound a bit strong.. I am an American and very proud to be one.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • The most satisying job I had was working in the ER at a not for profit community hospital. Everyone was treated equally. It was located in a diverse, not so wealthy community, close to the Mexican border.
    But we moved across country I learned the differences that occur in for profit hospital. a whole different enviroment, not that everyone wasn't treated well, but the better insurance you had, it seemed there was more tests available to you, with seamless transitions to rehab, or nursing homes. My husband worked on a contract job for a year, and we had good insurance package. He was a ER patient at a hospital close to our home, they covered all bases.
    Later I worked there and they had been bought up by one of the large hospital groups in our area, for profit, and it was very much different. You would have preliminary testing and only further testing if you were admitted. I don't think it was the insurance that was a factor, but the administrators where telling the Drs what they can or can not do. There are no easy answers or solutions, and it has been going on for quite a while.
  • Hi Ron didn't mean to upset anyone as I don't understand how your system works. From reading the posts it just seems that people who have the money get better care in the US. Might have been watching too much American TV.

    Your spinal care seems to be way ahead of ours, at least they know thoracic injuries can be painful which it seems a lot of specialists here are only just beginning to understand. The spinal surgeon who I saw and worked out some of my injury was trained in the UK.
  • The better ur insurance the better your care.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    You could have the best insurance coverage in the world, but if you have lousy doctors, you are going to get lousy care.
    Same applies the other way.

    I've seen/reviewed about a dozen different medical insurance plans in the area Different work companies, some self employed, different insurance companies.
    The major difference in all the plans was the amount of deductible you have and then the co-pays and the cost if any for diagnostic testing.
    For example
    Plan A - Deductible $2,000 $30 co-pays 20% payment for diagnostic testing - Monthly cost $1,800
    Plan B - Deductible $1,000 $30 co-pays 20% payment for diagnostic testing - Monthly cost $2,100
    Plan C - Deductible $1,000 $15 co-pay $30 co-pay Specialist 0 cost testing - Monthly cost $1,900

    All of these plans have the exact same doctors in which you can go to. So money doesn't dictate the quality coverage you will get. There are some self employed using Cobra, which can get very expensive, same coverage as above, but monthly payments well over $2,000 month. But still the same doctors.

    But, please lets get back to Rose's original thread and question about Physicians Making Mistakes

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • My private health insurance is around $850.00 per year. That includes extras cover such as dental, naturopathy, acupuncture, physio, glasses and a whole range of other things to around $500 per year. Doesn't cover medications though.

    They fully paid for my pain clinic which was expensive. - around $3500.

    If you have a preexisting condition you have to wait for a year and mine is expensive because of my age and I stopped it for a couple of years.

    If I have to have a major operation I think my copay is around $300 to $600 then everything is free. - that covers all operations, anesthesist, all care in a private hospital -. my eye laser surgery would have been fully covered. There is no sealing limit so they will fully pay for everything even a $100,000 to a million dollar operation and all care. There are some exclusions such as cosmetic surgery unless you require it medically. You also get a $500 tax rebate if you belong to private health - so you get it back in tax. In reality it costs about $350.00 yearly if you include the tax rebate.

    I am lucky because my Healthcare scheme is non profit - it is for Military and used to be available to only Military personnel and Military civilians but now anyone now can join. You get a card to swipe so the copay for extras is done there and then. Medicare also provides a rebate as well on some things. Gets transferred directly into your account. I have only just found out it also includes MRI's if you use a certain company. I had insurance and paid for my own for years without realising. Very bright not!!

    There is also a computer program or a few but Iselect is one that compares all private health insurance and finds the best and cheapest cover for your specific needs. It doesn't cost anything as they must get a commission from the Healthcare provider.

    I'm not sure how anyone could afford private insurance unless I misunderstood.

    To get back to the subject Drs do make mistakes. Maybe we should start a new thread that explains health insurance simply in all countries as this site is worldwide.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    edited 12/01/2013 - 6:03 AM
    health insurance. Here is the parent root: Health Insurance Issues

    The only thing we do not want discussed there is the political aspects why one plan is better than another plan, etc...
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Rose
    I was.working hard to get a friend set up for a revision surgery that IMO was all done wrong with off label items that did not work the first time. He was using some products he and some fellow surgeons were making and stood to make a lot of money if they worked.
    Well they didn't work and for years he told her nothing was wrong. I can only guess he did not want the paper trail to say it didn't work. His surgery fixed her and the pain she was in could not be from his work.
    Finally she was seen by another surgeon who in minutes said your fusion failed. Two of three levels failed for her but the original surgeon still insist it was ok. Even though she was OK he did offer to do a revision and remove what he did and redo it adding the level above and below. IMO this was to fix what he did but by adding levels it would not show his products and procedures did not work. No other surgeon even brought up doing the other levels they just wanted to fix what was done.
    This was a surgeon that was very highly thought of and has a very high ranking which shows me a ranking means nothing now.. You think you would be safe but she wasn't. We have to be our own advocate and get second and third opinions.

    OK anyway in doing research for her I ended up in the FDA records of failed surgeries. The study shows that the single one biggest mistake in spinal fusion is when they do not check and recheck which level they are going to fuse. How sad a few markers and then a couple of x-Rays to make sure they have the right levels before cutting. I was so shocked that this happens so much. Do they say sorry I made a mistake? No they say wow your next level has now gone bad and it has to be fused. How interesting they make a major mistake and we put our trust in them and then they get paid to correct the error they made. Yes I am sure a couple of good surgeons stand up and say I screwed up but not many.

    I have always been against any malpractice lawsuits that drive our cost way up but something should be done with surgeons that do anything like this. Money may not be the answer but getting any action on them is almost impossible.
    In the FDA studies I found that a surgeon removed the wrong kidney in a patient just down the street from me. He had cancer in one kidney and they had to remove it before it crossed to the other or spread. To protect themselves the hospital said their procedure was not followed and the right kidney wasn't marked for surgery so there was confusion.
    Pathology came back and kidney was good. How could this happen? They removed the persons good kidney not the bad one. Their future doesn't look good unless they find a kidney. I use to think marking your surgery area was a joke and childish but now I understand why this is so important now and the more safety checks the better.
    It also came out this wasn't the first time with this surgeon so he should have been more careful from experience.
    The sad thing with spine surgery we can not verify what level they are at.

    I had surgery last week to ADD a second SCS unit. The consent form said it was to remove my SCS unit and replace with a new one. This was not the plan. The resident was mad with me because I was trying to change my surgery at the very last moment. He was set that the paper work was right and it wasn't. It took a hour to get it fixed all he had to do was go call the surgeon but no he tried to make it look like I was the problem. At least the first preop nurse would not release me for surgery until paper work was done right. I need to go back and thank her. Everyone was mad at her because she would not let me go in without the correct paper work. He even said she was holding up many people waiting on me like she should give in. I got into it with him again and said go ask the doctor. Finally he did.
    Once back into the surgery holding area my surgeon came in and said don't worry he knew what was going on and he would not have done that but I could see a problem growing very quick. Then after the resident changed the paper work he failed to mark me like he should have for the surgery. I had several checks and was getting tired of telling everyone what I was there for but I fully understand it now.

    Always be your own advocate and also try to have a person with you that knows what is going on all the time to prevent mistakes that should not happen. My Lady friend is doing well now and recovery is going good. Time will tell if this caused her any long term issues. Three years of her life had been taken away from her because of a surgeon trying to do fusions a different way..She was in major pain and he ignored her saying it couldn't be.

    I.caution everyone to never allow any off label products or procedures to be done on you unless it's been explained why it's needed. It may cause harm in the future. Sometimes it may be necessary because of something you need but make sure it's not a product your surgeon will profit on. Do research first.

    Mistakes happen in any job and can normally be fixed or replaced except for mistakes in our body's.
    And then again sometimes things just happen and we need to limit the chance all we can.
    No body is perfect but it looks like money gets in the way more and more.
  • mommastarrmmommastarr Posts: 8
    edited 12/02/2013 - 1:35 PM
    I would deffinately call neglagance or something with the fact that since my discogram I have severe pain on the right side(I Only had left side pain before) Urinary retention and groin altered semsation , and ALL but two of 6 calls to performing Dr have been ignored(including two today) and only response I Did get was to go to er(read my post to get the short story on that) and to get in to see neuro sooner(I'm lucky I have app on wed since they are booked til Feb!)
    Megan Starr
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