Private surgery clinics performing cosmetic plastic surgery and laser vision correction have increased in number in recent years. When a public hospital makes an error the aggrieved patient knows that the hospital will pay their judgement. What about these private clinics when, for instance, one of their staff assembles an instrument incorrectly, causing an injury? Do they have an obligation to carry insurance that cannot be cancelled, if they do not have sufficient cash and assets to pay a judgement? The private clinic might do something (e.g. fail to notify their insurer of the negligence promptly) and thereby lose their insurance coverage. In addition, they can close their clinic or an operating clinic’s cash flow and assets might be insufficient to cover a judgement. The patient might end up with an unpaid judgement. This is not appropriate. The College of Physicians should take steps to ensure the financial responsibility of all private surgery clinics. For more information contact Bruce Lemer.
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