From Hannah Montana to drive-by shootings, there is plenty of interesting news in Cincinnati, Ohio today. But to me, your friendly patient advocate, an even more fascinating topic was reported in Cincinnati’s news this week: the possibility of a lemon law for medical consumers.
To me, it’s one of those “now why didn’t I think of that?” ideas!
A woman named Betsey Exline gets the credit here. Last spring she went for a routine colonoscopy, which was botched, and she ended up with emergency surgery and a stay in the hospital for eight days.
Nine doctors, the emergency surgeons and the hospital then billed her for the insult. Can you say “unmitigated gall?”
Should she sue? She could, although lawsuit cost estimates range into five figures and she’s not getting any younger.
Instead, this very wise woman took a very different approach. Bless her heart, she’s not looking to make money from this error which she will suffer from for the rest of her life. She just wants someone to pay her bills. She just wants someone to recognize that it should not be her responsibility, or her insurance company’s responsibility, to pay for the errors caused by others.
Hello? Duh! That just makes so much sense!
So Betsey contacted her local Ohio state representative and is now pursuing the introduction of legislation that would, in effect, force those who caused the errors to pay for the errors — but not through the courts. Instead the legislation will create a consumer protection process for medical errors. Those who caused the errors will be required to cover the costs that result from their errors.
And if it becomes law? The doctors win because it will cut down on lawsuits. The insurance companies win because it will cut down on lawsuits, too. And the patients win — at least to the extent they won’t have to pay those unfair bills.
(And who will stand in the way? Of course, those lawyers who handle medical error victim lawsuits. but that’s another blog post for another day.)
Wish I was in Cincinnati, Betsey. I’d find you — just to shake your hand. You’re a fixer of the first order.
|Want more tools and commentary for sharp patients?
Sign up for Every Patient’s Advocate email tips
Or link here to empower yourself at