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Doctors' errors can have a huge financial impact

A mistake made by a doctor in Washington can have an enormous impact on your life, and it could come with huge financial costs. Often, this is because it's hard for other doctors to see what is wrong and correct the problem.

Take, for example, the case of a woman who had a surgery carried out back in 2006. Doctors thought that things went as planned, but she ended up having a lot of pain in her chest. The surgery had been near her heart, with the goal of removing fluid.

The woman started going to more doctors, trying to find out what was wrong, and no one knew. The fluid had been removed. They couldn't find the source of the pain. She ended up in the emergency room five times, she visited a total of 10 doctors, and the cost of all of this--without even solving the issue--was about $75,000.

Finally, a doctor figured it out while doing a procedure. He noticed a foreign object in her body, and he was surprised enough that he swore and asked the nurse what it was. The woman remembered that because she'd selected a local anesthetic so she could remain awake.

The nurse calmly informed the doctor that the object--and the source of all of the woman's pain--was a suture needle. It had apparently been left in her chest during the first operation. Even without factoring in the stress and pain and suffering, the woman and her insurance provider had paid a lot just to find and correct that mistake.

If you're facing large medical bills because of an error a doctor made, you may deserve compensation.

Source: Workforce, "No Minor Mistake Doctor's Error, Your Expense," Jeremy Smerd, accessed Sep. 24, 2015

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