A SURGEON IN AUSTRIA AMPUTATES A PATIENT’S WRONG LEG AND ONLY GETS A $3,000 FINE!?
So healthcare in the United States is insanely expensive, pretty much everyone agrees. Some have argued for decades that’s because of all the insurance that doctors have to pay for to protect themselves from our litigious society. That’s hogwash, of course. There needs to be a penalty for negligence, especially gross negligence. In those instances, it should cost an arm and a leg. Speaking of that, let’s have a look at Austria and how different things work there. Because a doctor there amputated a patient’s leg. The wrong leg. And the penalty for this gross negligence was the total of $3,060.
DOC SAYS HUMAN ERROR, COURT SAYS GROSS NEGLIGENCE, BUT FINE IS A PITTANCE ANYWHERE
No, seriously! That’s the fine a court levied after finding the doctor guilty of gross negligence! But oh, they suspended half that amount. This happened in the northern Austrian city of Linz last week. So how did this happen? The doctor simply marked the wrong leg of her 82-year-old patient, and then went on to remove that leg. But even better? The doctor didn’t even catch her mistake until 2 days after the surgery! I mean, seriously, who amputates the wrong limb these days? If you’ve ever had surgery on a limb (I’ve had a few), you may remember multiple checks and confirmations of said target before going under.
PATIENT (VICTIM) DIED BEFORE HE COULD GET HIS DAY IN COURT OVER WRONG LOST LEG
But that’s not how it worked for one poor soul in Freistadt this past May. The management of the clinic where this was able to happen say they have analyzed in detail how this error occurred. The doctor has moved to another theater to work in, and may appeal the judgement, which includes a modest award to her patient’s widow. Why his widow? Because he died before he could get his leg up in court. So to speak. For better or worse, in America that poor man would have woken up with a settlement form to sign with a number that had at least two more zeroes after it.