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Can money-back guarantees end surgical medical malpractice?

Patients who leave New York hospitals after surgical procedures should not have to cope with complications. A program called the Dr. Robert Bree Collaborative was established with the aim to get participating hospitals to guarantee their procedures and offer money-back warranties rather than facing medical malpractice lawsuits. A patient who had her fair share of failed surgeries is working with the group to advocate for such a system.

This patient says that due to osteoarthritis, she had both her hips replaced in 2006. Since those two procedures, she had each hip replaced twice -- making it a total of six hip replacement surgeries. On two occasions, she ended up with excruciating pain because the metal sockets failed to integrate with her own hip-socket bone, and corrosion of the titanium ball of another implanted hip caused complications and had to be replaced. Along with all the surgical complications, she developed a bacterial infection in the skin called cellulitis, which is life-threatening if not treated promptly.

The Bree Collaborative's warranty recommends money back if certain complications such as pneumonia or sepsis develop within a week of the surgery and if other conditions like pulmonary embolisms or bleeding of the surgical site occur within 30 days. Protection will be offered for 90 days if a mechanical failure occurs in an artificial joint or if an internal infection develops around it. The advocates for this program believe nobody should leave a hospital with infections or any other preventable complication and have to pay for it.

While money-back guarantees for surgical procedures are not the norm yet, New York patients who suffer complications due to medical negligence might have grounds for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. The most logical step might be to discuss the circumstances with an attorney who is experienced in this complicated field of the law. A lawyer can assess the viability of the case and then provide the necessary support and guidance throughout the ensuing legal proceedings.

Source: NBC Montana, "Should your doctor offer a money-back guarantee?", Michelle Andrews, Nov. 30, 2017

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