Study: Hospitals Profit From Their Own Mistakes

Surgical errors are paying off for medical facilities across the nation.

A study released this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that hospital reap more profit when mistakes are made during surgery. That’s because correcting the errors requires extra time in the hospital and, thus, a larger bill.

It’s not surprising when you think about it, and that means there’s a problem. The medical care industry and high profits have long been seen as going hand-in-hand.

The study also raises another concern, which the New York Times sums up well in a recent article:

“If the system does not change, hospitals will have little incentive to improve: in fact, some will wind up losing money if they take better care of patients.”

The Study

Researchers analyzed the records of 34,256 people who had surgery at any of 12 Texas hospitals in 2010. The hospitals are all run by a company called Texas Health Resources, which assisted with the study. Of those examined, 1,820 patients suffered from preventable complications associated with their procedure.

Those who did not suffer complications had an average hospital bill of $18,900. The average bill for patients with complications: $49,400.

That’s 2.5 times more profit when a patient suffers from a preventable complication, such as a blood clot, infection or pneumonia. You’d be hard-pressed to find another profession in which it pays more to do the job poorly.

Surgical Errors Can Be Deadly

While errors in treatment and surgery can be profitable for doctors and hospitals, they can be deadly for patients. A minor infection can heal, but serious internal injuries can occur due to surgical errors.  Medical mistakes kill thousands each year.

The attorneys at The Oshman Firm have successfully represented people who have suffered serious injuries from surgical errors. We have handled many other medical malpractice cases as well. Contact us if this has happened to you or a loved one.


Ted Oshman has been with The Oshman Firm since 1988 serving clients for over 25 years. Learn more about Ted's background and featured practice areas here.

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