Oz doctors develop surgical robot designed to operate on your wallet

The Terminator comes to your bank account


If your wallet is too heavy by AU$10,000 or so, relax: Australian doctors can relieve your pain with a robot surgeon.

This paper in the Medical Journal of Australia enumerates the various ways in which patients can get overcharged for cancer treatment.

But the standout, from Vulture South's point of view, was in this discussion of the research in The Brisbane Times.

Robotic surgery for prostate cancer, the Cancer Council of Australia says, can rack up as much as AU$30,000 in out-of-pocket expenses: in other words, surgeons are talking people into a treatment that's not covered by Medicare and inadequately covered by private health insurance, so they can roll out the flashy robot.

The Cancer Council notes that there's no evidence the robot procedures have better patient outcomes.

Private surgeons are pulling out other tricks to get into patients' wallets, in particular telling them they'll suffer long waiting times for cancer surgery in public hospitals. As the paper points out, public hospitals prioritise cancer treatments. ®

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