There are enough scary stories when it comes to New York City medical malpractice claims to make one think twice about undergoing any surgery at all, unless it’s absolutely necessary.
And that’s before one even considers the cost!
A recent series in The New York Times explores a growing number of people delving into medical tourism. That is, having been priced out of both necessary and elective surgical procedures in the U.S., they are traveling abroad, where those same surgeries may be conducted for a fraction of the price.
Many have had excellent results. There is no doubt that there are talented and dedicated surgeons located all over the world.
However, there is always a risk in surgery that something could go wrong. If your surgery is conducted overseas, there is no guarantee that you will be able to seek or secure compensation for those injuries.
Overlooking any claim of superiority that the U.S. health care system may have in terms of quality of care, the fact is that at least if something goes wrong, you know you can file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, anesthesiologist, radiologist, clinic, hospital or other responsible entity.
Still, we understand the temptation to look elsewhere. For example, an artificial hip cost about $350 to manufacture in the U.S. Yet hospitals pay about $4,500 to $7,500 just for the device, and the total hip replacement surgery can run anywhere from $40,000 to $125,000 for insured patients. It’s a cost that is rising by 5 percent annually.
Of course, manufacturers will tell you it’s liability lawsuits that keep prices so high. The reality is, the companies set the prices because of limited competition.
One of the patients chronicled by the Times indicated that he received a hip replacement surgery in Belgium for less than $14,000 – and that included all fees and round-trip airfare from the U.S.
His experience was positive. However, many who travel to countries like India or Thailand have reported less-than-stellar experiences. In some cases, the surgery was botched. In other instances, the medical device itself proved sub-par. These individuals have little or no means of recourse when something goes wrong.
In the U.S., a number of joint manufacturers have recently faced lawsuits, many of them settling before trial, after the production of all-metal implants, which were intended to increase durability. However, many had abnormally high failure rates and were sometimes found to be profoundly flawed.
This is an important and timely topic because, particularly as baby boomers age, we’re going to see an increased need for surgeries, particularly those involving joint replacements. The benefit may not outweigh the cost if the ultimate outcome is complications that require further treatment and possibly additional surgery.
Some people may still find that overseas surgery is still worth it.. Our New York City medical malpractice attorneys would simply encourage patients to consider this aspect of the equation as well.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
In Need of a New Hip, but Priced Out of the U.S., Aug. 3, 2013, By Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times
More Blog Entries:
NYC Malpractice Watch: Unnecessary Medical Procedures Put Patients at Risk, May 30, 2013, New York City Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog