Americans Going Overseas for Healthcare - page 3

This is the first I have heard of it - for truly medical procedures - but I think it is pathetic that hard working Americans (like the lady in the article) are forced to look into taking a risk... Read More

  1. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Gromit
    That site seems to think very highly of socialized healthcare. Sorry, but I'm not a fan.
    The biggest problem (and in my opinion the main reason its so expen$ive here in the US) is on the shoulders of our legal profession -lawyers. You cannot watch TV at night without some ad trying to get you to sue. Well, that adds greatly to the cost.
    My biggest problem with healthcare abroad is basically like the ones mentioned earlier by BSNtobe. I'm also wondering what recourse a dissatisfied patient has. If you have no real practical legal recourse, then you should factor that in as well. I also wish to re-iterate what was said before (what kind of regulations, and oversight do these other healthcare systems HAVE? How diligent are they? and so forth)
    Mistakes will always happen -humans are prone to error. BUT how often have you read about bogus clinics in Mexico, for instance, that were making wild claims that appeal to those in need (cures for HIV or cancer being the two top ones) when in fact they did more harm than good.
    Lawsuits definitely add to the cost. But think of what would happen if patients couldn't sue.

    For better or for worse ... lawsuits do keep checks and balances in the system. Imagine what the docs (or any other healthcare worker for that matter) would get away with if lawsuits weren't a factor. You can't just rely on government regulators. They don't have the financial incentive to go after the doc on your behalf like a lawyer does

    And you can't sue in India. Just as a hypothetical example: If I went over to the India and they totally screwed up my knee to the point that I couldn't work ... I would lose $3 million in provable income and pension benefits for the next 20 years ... minimum.

    Would I get all of that back in a lawsuit after paying the lawyers ... probably not. But I would probably get a big chunk of it. I've litigated four cases as a plaintiff so ... I'm pretty confident of that.

    So ... let's say I only get $2 million after they take the standard one third of damages for lawyers fees. That's still a hellava lot better than getting nothing, which is what would happen if I did the surgery in India.

    Not worth the risk, at least to me. Sorry but, I want the option of being able to sue my doctor if he screws up and takes away my livelihood.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Nov 30, '06
  2. by   Gromit
    I'm not arguing against the ability to sue -but far too often the medical lawsuit (just as many others) is unreasonable or even just what most would call 'frivolous' -even though it might not meet the legal definition of the term (and therefore be allowable) -one example, a doc I know personally was on the list as one of the docs of a team -he never actually saw the patient for an ear problem -he saw the patient for an unrelated problem. The patient later sued him as well as other docs because he claimed they had caused his ear damage, resulting in deafness. The patient won his case because the (medical malpractice) insurance company found it less expensive to settle (as is the case the MAJORITY OF THE TIME) and just jack up the cost of insuring the docs (who have to either eat the increase or increase their fees). Insurance companies will generally choose not to fight unless its going to be too expensive NOT to fight, and only then when they have a good chance of winning. The problem isn't the ability of the patient to sue, the problem IS that it is far too easy to sue -and we have more than enough unscrupulous lawyers who are eager to take a stab.
    Our ability to sue for redress is a large part of what helps us put a check against the system, but improperly used, it damages the system as well (which is why the call for tort reform is so loud). People sue over damn near everything -especially in the medical aspect -the scar didn't go away entirely, or they have an unreasonable expectation of outcome (though some of this can fall squarely on the shoulders of the docs -for not being thorough in their explanation, sometimes -and I know we've all seen this- a patient only hears exactly what they want to hear, no matter how its explained, and then will sign pretty much anything, claiming they have no need of further explanation (that they understand completely)). Medicine isn't like auto mechanics -though some patients seem to wish to treat it as such. All I'm saying is that the public greed (as exploited by lawyers) plays a fairly large unadmitted role in the high cost of medicine.
    Docs get busted (lawsuits) for not ordering every conceivable test, then get busted for ordering too many tests when the results fail to point out the need for the extra tests.
    Rock and a hard place.
  3. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Gromit
    I'm not arguing against the ability to sue -but far too often the medical lawsuit (just as many others) is unreasonable or even just what most would call 'frivolous' -even though it might not meet the legal definition of the term (and therefore be allowable) -one example, a doc I know personally was on the list as one of the docs of a team -he never actually saw the patient for an ear problem -he saw the patient for an unrelated problem. The patient later sued him as well as other docs because he claimed they had caused his ear damage, resulting in deafness. The patient won his case because the (medical malpractice) insurance company found it less expensive to settle (as is the case the MAJORITY OF THE TIME) and just jack up the cost of insuring the docs (who have to either eat the increase or increase their fees). Insurance companies will generally choose not to fight unless its going to be too expensive NOT to fight, and only then when they have a good chance of winning. The problem isn't the ability of the patient to sue, the problem IS that it is far too easy to sue -and we have more than enough unscrupulous lawyers who are eager to take a stab.
    Since I've been a plaintiff myself, I really find it hard to believe that insurance companies just roll over and pay money to plaintiffs without any basis to the claim. Most of the time, somebody had to have screwed up somewhere for them to pay.

    Look at this link of malpractice cases involving nurses, docs, etc. There's lots verdicts where the defense won. Obviously, the insurance companies didn't roll over in those cases.

    Nursing medical malpractice / professional liability insurance, newsletter, articles, continuing education, and legal case study for RN, LPN, nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist

    I'd be willing to bet that one of those doctors did cause the deafness in this case, even if the others didn't. And no doctor is going to admit they caused it, even if they did. You really don't know until you've actually looked at the documentation.

    It may very well be that it was cheaper to settle because they would have lost big time if they went to court.

    And it's NOT easy to sue. Not all lawyers will take your case. When my mother died in a hospital under what seemed to be suspicious circumstances (this was before I went to nursing school and had any medical background) we took the case to three lawyers.

    She had been diagnosed and treated for pneumonia, yet died of a heart attack one day after she was discharged. As it turned out, she had 90 percent blockages in her coronary arteries for which she never received treatment.

    Nevertheless, all of the lawyers told us we didn't have a case. Why? Because they were going to have to take it on contingency and pay for the costs themselves. Plaintiffs usually don't have a lot of money to pay lawyers.

    The fact that the law firm usually has to take the case on contingency practically guarantees that they have to have a good case going in. Otherwise ... the law firm is taking a huge risk and could lose a lot of money.

    Yes, everybody gets named in the lawsuit ... even the nurses. That's pretty standard. But a lot of them get dropped along the way as discovery progresses and they find out who ultimately was responsible.

    Are there a lot of flaws with the system? Yes ... absolutely. But there are also checks and balances for those who sue also.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 2, '06
  4. by   glb1960
    what about to have a baby? i'm due in june. would you suggest it?

    motorcycle mama vbmenu_register("postmenu_1946335", true); , yes, i would. the healthcare in general is very compentent. and american dollars will insure you are treated like royalty. start internet searching for the best recommended ob's are then start emailing then phoning them until you reach a comfort level before purchasing any tickets.

    good luck and stay in touch, gary
  5. by   Gromit
    Obviously, since you were a plaintiff, they don't roll over in every case. But in many they do. The doc in question (as regards the ear patient) was my father -he never saw the guy in any case having to do with his ears, but was named in the suit with other docs. Ask docs who have been in the business for a long time, and see what THEY have to say. In many cases, its cheaper to give in (my father asked WHY they didn't fight it -he was told that it was cheaper to settle -and he was also told that if he chose to fight it, it would be on his own dime, and he would also lose their coverage (not just for that case, but period)). Honestly think the insurance company has your best interests at heart? How about the lawyers?
    If things continue as they have, we WILL see many more docs practicing without malpractice insurance -its easy enough to keep from losing your personal possetions (my father did considder it - he would put everything in my (now late) mothers' name except the practice, and if he was sued, would just lose his practice and find another form of employment -its not ideal, but it is an option.
    One thing I WOULD like to see considdered is having the loser pay for the costs of court. You might then see lawyers take a second look before trying to file endless lawsuits. I know that the legal-ethical teaching tells us that you cannot be convicted of malpractice unless you did something wrong that caused injury or increased harm, but don't you believe THAT for an instant.
    No matter how you look at it (even with my desired change) 'we the people' who practice our professions are NOT on even ground -we don't have the resources nor the time, to compete on an even footing.
    Best advice above all is to just be careful and document document document -and a bit of luck doesn't hurt either (grin).
  6. by   indigo girl
    Quote from Gromit
    If things continue as they have, we WILL see many more docs practicing without malpractice insurance -its easy enough to keep from losing your personal possetions (my father did considder it - he would put everything in my (now late) mothers' name except the practice, and if he was sued, would just lose his practice and find another form of employment -its not ideal, but it is an option.
    Interesting observation. I know some nurses who also practice without insurance, and technically own nothing (they are paupers, the poor dears, just like OJ Simpson) for the same reasons. The thinking is that you are less of a target if no one can get anything from you.
    Last edit by indigo girl on Dec 3, '06
  7. by   Gromit
    I don't have malpractice insurance either (I only know one who does -and that one is a practitioner -in which case I could see a good reason to have it) but in any case, the prevailing thought is not so much that you are less of a target as that you aren't worth the trouble. I own my own home, but to be honest, if I were sued they just wouldn't get much (in florida, you can't take their primary residence -and I only have one anyway) and while I'm not so sure about the car (or truck, in my case), I doubt an older diesel pickup truck would fetch much (and to be sure, my big motorcycle would be useless junk before I'd let it be taken) -but any stocks or investments (not many, I'm just a working-class joe) are owned by my wife -no ulterior motive, its just the way its worked out over the years. I could see where a nurse should protect themselves -especially in situations that would make you a bigger, more tempting target (like if you work for a doc, or in a walk-in clinic, etc.) but working in the hospital, as long as you follow protocol you should be reasonably protected. Though I'm not naive enough to know that a nitpicker will always find some small error or other -protocols being numerous and oftentimes seeming to have been writen by someone who is well removed (both time-wise, and practical) from actually performing the functions (grin).
    I figure I have better odds of becoming financially destitute other ways (major injuries due to my bike, for instance)...
    Anyway, insurance folks and lawyers always get my steam up. I hate the topic.
  8. by   augigi
    Intead of worrying that having insurance makes people a target, isn't it better to make sure you don't do anything that makes you a target (you can't prove malpractice unless you did not follow accepted care AND there was harm caused)?? I'd rather have it in case you know what happens. How would they know who was insured or not before suing?

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