Saturday, July 12, 2014

When Murder is Cost Effective

At a recent medical conference, a speaker came up with a radical proposal.

People regularly come to an emergency room complaining of chest pain, he said. Most are not having a heart attack, but doctors do a careful exam and many tests and often observe them for hours. Even if little turns up, doctors lean over backwards to admit someone with a possible heart attack. In the end, some are so obviously not having a heart attack that the doctor sends them home.

But medicine is not perfect, he added. Three percent of those sent home are having a heart attack. They sue the hospital and win.

These suits are old news. Over the years, hospitals have become more and more liberal about admitting patients with chest pain. But, in the end, some are sent home.

No matter. Three percent are having a heart attack, and they sue. The average payout is over $400,000.

“It’s an impossible situation. What can a hospital do?” asked the speaker. He went on to inform the audience that hiring a hit man to kill someone costs $10,000.

“Do the math,” he said.    

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