Medical Misadventure?!

I work for a health insurance company, so I see all sorts of diagnosis codes.  For those that are uninitiated, almost all medical conditions or reason for seeing a doctor have a diagnosis code that is used on health insurance claims.

Most seem normal enough, and self explanatory, like diabetes without complications, preventative exam, alchohol withdrawal, or closed femur fracture.  Even if it’s a broad category (like back pain), you still have idea of what the issue is.

However, some are puzzling and even alarming.

Like . . .

Medical Misadventure?!

Photo credit: CarbonNYC [in SF!] / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: CarbonNYC [in SF!] / Foter / CC BY
Yes, that’s a real medical diagnosis.  I saw it.

It really bugged me because it sounds so arbitrary.  What does misadventure mean, exactly?

I pictured something akin to a screwball episode of I Love Lucy.

But medical diagnoses are rarely humerus humorous.

So, then, is it one big medical screw up that can’t be classified as anything else?

Did a medical instrument get left inside during surgery?

Did the patient wake up during surgery? (A friends father did this and yelled at the surgeon “your damn saw blade is dull!”  True story.).

Did they do the wrong procedure?

Pretty much.

Definition from the Free Dictionary:

“misadventure:  An unintended result of an action, as in an occupation-related “homicide by misadventure”. In medicine, the term has become a euphemism for a therapeutic error, as in a surgical misadventure in which the wrong leg was amputated.”


Medicare has specific codes for surgeries performed on the wrong body part and the wrong patient, so does that mean it’s done to medicare patients more often than the rest of us so they actually figured they needed a separate code for it?

I know mistakes happen.  We are all human.

It’s just pretty scary when it’s in the medical realm.

While my partner gets irritated when she is repeatedly asked for her name, date of birth, and the procedure she’s in for, I am glad they now triple check prior to surgery.  They even mark the body part to be operated on.

She may be annoyed with all the questions, but I’m sure annoyed wouldn’t describe her feelings if they operated on the wrong body part or performed the wrong operation.

She should feel lucky that’s not on her list of medical diagnoses.

Have any Medical Misadventure stories?  Please share!  I am definitely interested.

2 thoughts on “Medical Misadventure?!”

  1. I am one that is glad for the tripple check as well, being an outsider I hear the rumors, the news conveying hospital mistakes, but to be in that industry and have the tangible evidence in your hand or on screen sounds more shocking.

    Liked by 1 person

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