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Old 26.02.2020, 09:05
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Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

I recently went for a blood test, just to check my general health, and when the results came back, one of the readings was three times higher than the threshold. I was immediately sent to have an ultrasound, which revealed nothing.

While I was at the ultrasound, the doctor also sent the blood to be retested.

It turns out that a lab error caused the reading to be so high, so I did not need the ultrasound, the additional blood test or the follow-up appointment with the GP, where she told me that I was actually fine and that it was a mistake by the lab. Apparently, there was one indicator she should have picked up on in the first set of results because, with a reading that high, I should have been dead.

Now I am getting the bills from my insurance company. I am happy to pay for the original test but this lab mess up has added around 400CHF to the bill. Do I have any grounds to refuse to pay this? I do not have any legal insurance.....
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Old 26.02.2020, 09:24
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

Out of curiosity what would you like your doctor to do when a lab result comes back 3x over whatever threshold?

I'm asking because

1) retest in case it's nothing
2) start further tests in case it's something (and given how far above the threshold, probably something serious)
3) have a follow-up appointment to discuss the outcome of 1) and 2)

sounds like a pretty sensible plan of action to me.

Doctors and lab techs aren't perfect and mistakes do happen but given the initial mistake, this sounds like it was handled fairly well.
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Old 26.02.2020, 09:30
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

pay it up, be happy you are actually healthy. end of story.
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Old 26.02.2020, 09:41
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

Provided one has a history of tests here and one result is significantly different I would expect the lab to retest immediately. If they donít have enough blood, to call you and ask for more.

Your Dr. should have asked for a retest in your circumstances as well.

Was this at a clinique where everything was done, or three separate businesses? If it was the former I think you have a case for asking for a reduction. If the latter then the place that did the tests are ultimately responsible for you having to take the unnecessary tests.

I would write to them, recorded delivery, and ask them to compensate you for your costs.

You might also want to discuss with your health insurers, they will have a lot more clout than you.
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Old 26.02.2020, 09:51
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

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Provided one has a history of tests here and one result is significantly different I would expect the lab to retest immediately. If they donít have enough blood, to call you and ask for more.

Your Dr. should have asked for a retest in your circumstances as well.
Depends on the severity of whatever it was they were testing for.
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Old 26.02.2020, 11:48
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

Does the total bill or your bill goes up by 400CHF?

I needed an MRI of my head 2 years ago. The bill was about 1200 or 1300 CHF, my part 10% of the total, Assura took the rest and I pay the minimum possible per month.

If your bill increased by 400 CHF, that was a quite expensive analysis.
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Old 26.02.2020, 11:56
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

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Does the total bill or your bill goes up by 400CHF?

I needed an MRI of my head 2 years ago. The bill was about 1200 or 1300 CHF, my part 10% of the total, Assura took the rest and I pay the minimum possible per month.

If your bill increased by 400 CHF, that was a quite expensive analysis.
Surely that would depend on his deductible, if, as it in very early in the year, op has not yet reached his deductible he would not be at the 10% co-pay stage.
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Old 26.02.2020, 11:58
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

It doesn't make sense to me that you should have to pay for a lab's mistake. Would your insurance company be willing to take it up with the lab?
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Old 26.02.2020, 12:03
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

I think the doctor has acted as they must by protocol, but maybe the doctor can call the lab to get rid off the bill that was caused by the lab's misreading?

I had to pay for a doctor renting me a machine that only partially functioned, it was easier than trying to struggle with the insurance company, tbh.

Last edited by MusicChick; 26.02.2020 at 12:22.
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Old 26.02.2020, 13:13
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

I would have thought the insurance company would have an interest in this. Even if it comes out of your franchise, it might nudge you into territory where they have to pay out.
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Old 26.02.2020, 13:42
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

If there was significant evidence indicating that I was seriously ill, then of course I am happy to do whatever is necessary to diagnose the issue, even if it turns out that I am fine.

However I did not show any other symptoms and there was another anomalous reading in the test results. I found out that a simple retest of just the one indicator would have taken just 5 min with substantially less cost/stress. Even the ultrasound doctor said that if the blood is left out too long during the lab process, the cells break down and cause misreadings. This should have been evident to the doctor interpreting the results.

When vising a doctor you have to put trust in their judgement and expertise but I feel, in this case, the doctor acted lazily and did not consider the most obvious solution. Perhaps this is because everything is ultimately covered by the patient or their insurance and few people question the bills they receive....
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Old 26.02.2020, 13:56
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

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pay it up, be happy you are actually healthy. end of story.
WTF is wrong with you guys who say "just pay it and shut up", do you have any iitiative or are you just spineless wusses who take everything throw at you? If I ended up having to pay an additional 400chf (that's a lot of money) as a direct result of the mistake of a lab analysis then damn right I would ask my insurance to challenge it before paying a penny.

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I would have thought the insurance company would have an interest in this. Even if it comes out of your franchise, it might nudge you into territory where they have to pay out.
Yup, agree, I would be explaining to my insurance and letting them investigate because they have a lot more power than an individual.

Last edited by Chuff; 26.02.2020 at 14:22.
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Old 26.02.2020, 14:15
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

I would have thought the most sensible thing to do in the first instance was to ask the lab to retest the sample and double check the result.
They keep the blood samples for this specific reason and unless it was an out if the ordinary specialist test it would only take a few minutes to do.
Iím surprised the doc didnít do this before sending you off for the ultrasound.

I would be questioning it too if I were in your shoes, Iíd be mightily pissed off at having to fork out an extra 400chf due to an error by the lab.
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Old 26.02.2020, 14:49
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

Better a false positive then an false negative
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Old 26.02.2020, 14:56
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

I don't think this was doctor negligence. Sadly I know all about doctor negligence. This was a lab error. The lab should have retested the blood. Maybe they needed a new sample to do so. In my experience the lab will redo a test, particularly if the value is considerably out of the normal range.

I would rather have a doctor who actually looks at the results than one who ignores them. Or disregards the lab's notes that they couldn't do one of the requested tests because they made a mistake with the sample.

Consider that the extra costs just go towards your excess, and be grateful you are healthy.
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Old 26.02.2020, 15:06
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

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Yup, agree, I would be explaining to my insurance and letting them investigate because they have a lot more power than an individual.
Well, if you think the the insurance will dispute on behalf of the patient you are in for a cold shower. They might investigate but generally just say "we ain't paying that" and then the clinic will forward the full bill to the patient instead of the insurance.

This still has to be disputed between the clinic and the patient.

To the OP: try to get the clinic to accept to give you a reduction based on their mistake; if they don't you can refer to the cantonal health authority or the cantonal doctor who can advise you what you can do in this case. A letter from any of these authorities can usually smooth things out fairly quickly
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Old 26.02.2020, 15:51
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Re: Doctor negligence - do I still have to pay?

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Well, if you think the the insurance will dispute on behalf of the patient you are in for a cold shower. They might investigate but generally just say "we ain't paying that" and then the clinic will forward the full bill to the patient instead of the insurance.

This still has to be disputed between the clinic and the patient.

To the OP: try to get the clinic to accept to give you a reduction based on their mistake; if they don't you can refer to the cantonal health authority or the cantonal doctor who can advise you what you can do in this case. A letter from any of these authorities can usually smooth things out fairly quickly
The principle remains that I would be challenging it by whatever means reasonable.
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