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Where Will You Have Your Medical Procedure Done?

Updated on November 17, 2014

Doctors are good, right? They are there to help us. How many of you know where your surgery or procedure will be performed and what the laws regarding it are? If you don't you might pay for it in ways you won't believe.

Deep down I believe all people are basically good. Something happens to turn someone wrong, or evil, at least I hope that is it. I hate to think there are people who are just born to be the way they seem. Doctors to me should be caring, honest, selfless, giving. At least, I think they should be. But I am realistic enough to know not all of them are out for the betterment of all of us. They each have a choice, and they exercise that choice freely.

So too should we.

If we inform ourselves we arm ourselves with that most powerful of weapons, knowledge. Recently an ugly underbelly to the medical world came to my attention and I feel duty bound to pass this on to you in hopes of giving you ammunition for your knowledge guns. Read on, and hope this does not occur where you live.

In May of 2011, a massive tornado destroyed one of the two hospitals in Joplin, Missouri. Along with the hospital, innumerable doctor's offices and clinics were destroyed as well. Something came to light in this horrific time that many still are not aware of, yet it might be the single most deadly incident they will ever have to deal with; more so, perhaps, than the tornado itself.

Money. Doctors. Surgery.

Just across the Missouri - Kansas state line lies a little town called Galena, Kansas. Galena is a very small town, not much more than a spot on the map. It is an old mining town with little to do and fewer places to work. As a matter of fact much of the debris from Joplin ended up in this small town's dump, in areas which have been wastelands for the many years after the mining days of the late 1800's and early 1900s. In the few years following the EF-5 tornado which decimated Joplin something has grown here, something many think is a benefit to the area yet could end up destroying families as they continue to place their trust in the hospital business.

Yes, I said business. They are in business to make money, make no doubt about it. And as any successful business knows, the best way to make money is to hang on to as much of the income as you can.

Enter the Law.

In Kansas, the maximum payout for Malpractice suits is low. Noneconomic payouts are capped at $250,000.00. Punitive is higher at $5,000,000.00. But I have been informed by someone involved with a malpractice case at this moment that their attorney has told them they will not be able to come anywhere close to that amount in damages even though someone is dying due to a doctor making a mistake; a preventable mistake.

The location of the doctor who punctured my friend's colon

Are you aware of Malpractice Laws and how they could affect you in your home state?

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A couple of years ago, when I had hit that milestone age whereby men must submit to those horrifying tests for those over 50 years of age, I went to a urinary doctor for a minor issue. He sent me to this little doctor's area just over the state line. Quite a few doctors had set their practice up in these new office buildings after theirs were destroyed in the storm. I thought nothing about it at the time.

I made my appointment for my day of fun, humbled myself with the upper and lower tunnel checkups and walked away with good news. Not too long after I got the all clear, I spoke with a co-worker who knew a mutual friend. This friend had just undergone the same checkup I had, at the same place, with the same doctor. Only this time, the doctor poked just a little bit too hard with the camera and drove the camera right through my friend's colon wall into his lower body cavity. Along with the camera went the cancer cells which were in evidence from his colon.

My friend has cancer; the big C. And rather than being contained within his colon, which is bad enough but at least was contained and operable it is now inside his body cavity, eating away at him every second of every day. For the past three years he has undergone chemo, been forced to carry around a colostomy bag, and basically wait to see when, not if he is going to die.

He is a man of deep and abiding faith however. He has a faith that remains unshaken and miraculously, and for a while it appeared as though his disease was in remission. No longer. He and his wife have traveled across the country, seeking any help they can get to find a way to halt the growth.

This search led them to California, and even into Mexico seeking something, anything that would help. So far, while he has outlived the projected expectation of his death he has nonetheless continued to decline in health. It angers me to no end to know that this was not only preventable, it was curable in its original form yet he will not have the luxury of living a long, healthy life due to a doctor's incompetence. All because he pushed the little camera a bit too hard and broke through the wall of his colon.

But what I recently learned has infuriated me, and is the single reason I am writing this article. Are you ready to be confused, angry, indignant, and completely pissed off?

His doctor's ceiling for malpractice is $50,000.00.

Per their attorney, because of loopholes which exist in Kansas, the doctor cannot beheld accountable for more than $50,000.00 in damages. My friend will soon die due to this "doctor's" negligence and the most he can be held to is 50K. Hell this guy probably brings in that much in a month of surgeries.

Where is the justice in that?

Entrance to the facility
Entrance to the facility | Source

Yesterday morning, at 5:55 AM CST I learned of my friend's passing. He was in San Diego, still trying for a miracle that could not be found. He was only a year or so older than I am, and I have had the priviledge of knowing him for some 33 years. He and I have hunted together, and worked together. I have also worked with his wife on two separate occasions, and currently still work with her. Prior to his final travels we saw each other on a daily basis and it kills me to know he no longer lives, I can no longer call him up and talk, will no longer see him at the store. His wife will no longer have his love and company, their children and grandchildren no longer have their father and grandfather. Because of a stupid, preventable mistake, one that the doctor that made will likely not even feel the pain of. His insurance company will pay a pittance, and my friend's family will have to accept this paltry sum while the doctor goes on, possibly harming others, possibly killing yet again in his pursuit for the Almighty Dollar.

I am writing this to let you the reader know that you must look into the laws surrounding malpractice in your area. Know what type of doctor you entrust your life, and those of your loved ones to. Know whether there is sufficient protection should something occur which there is no return from. Arm yourself with the knowledge that just because the facility is shiny and new this does not mean a mistake cannot be made.

Once I learned that the primary reason for these doctors crossing state lines from Missouri to Kansas was the malpractice limitations I began spreading the word to all I come into contact with. You need to know if something similar is occurring in your hometown. Are the laws within the city limits different than those outside the city? Are the county's laws different than those in the next county? Read! Research! Know and understand what may occur should you end up with a mistake being made on you and your loved ones having to fight alongside of you for your life. And know that if you were to pass away due to a doctor's negligence that they would receive compensation equal to or greater than your love, your earnings, or the amount your life would be worth to them. This may not ease their pain and suffering but it will provide a life for them after you pass and maybe, just maybe that doctor will think twice before carelessly doing harm to another person at some point down the road.

Please; look into this for your sake.

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    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Cheyenne. Glad to know that where you're at they have to display their coverage. That's a good idea! And I will pass along your thoughts to the family, we will be having a memorial service Monday for him. He was cremated in California and is coming home to rest. Take care.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Mike, this is appalling. $50,000? What the hell is that? It probably costs him that much to fire up the damned scope!

      Here in Florida, doctors have to post in their offices whether or not they carry malpractice insurance. Scary, huh? That means it's optional in this state. At least that's the way I understand it. Guess I should do my homework.

      I'm so sorry you lost your friend. I'm even sorrier he was far from home when he gave his last breath. And highly pissed that it could have been prevented.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

      Bill, glad to hear that you have had good fortune thus far and have a solid network to rely on. With the tornado destroying so much here in 2010 and the realization that they rebuilt across the state line to minimize their liability it angers me to no end. My friend is dead directly due to the doctor's mistake and the fact that he is not really liable for as much as he cost this family is not right. But the law is the law and they took advantage of it. I wrote this so others can inform themselves and not fall victim to such greed and practice. Thank you for stopping by Bill and take care of your Bev. Happy Holidays and good fortune to you.

      Poolman, thank you as well Sir. Yes, all too often such practices are hidden from view until they raise their heads and strike. Glad to hear your sister has had success in Costa Rica. Seems I have heard of such things being done for much better prices and with better care. Shouldn't the old U.S. of A. lead the way in care rather than millionaires made in such a manner? What happened to helping others, house calls, free medical advice? What happened to us? Take care Sir and stay safe. Happy Holidays to you and yours also.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      Mike, this is an interesting hub. It makes me wonder how often things like this go undiscovered and are covered up by the hospital or medical facility.

      My sister owns property in Costa Rica and has had some medical proceedures performed down there that would have cost a small fortune here in the US. She swears she is treated better there than in our own medical facilities, and so far no problems at all.

      I'm sorry to hear you lost a friend. I know how badly that hurts.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great information and suggestions here, Mike. I've been lucky so far, but my time is coming. Luckily, while teaching in Olympia, I taught many kids whose parents were doctors....so I'm in pretty good shape when it comes to knowing who to go to and trust.

      blessings to you, buddy