The Massachusetts Medical Society surveyed 900 of its members, including family doctors, obstetricians and gynecologists and general surgeons, who reported practicing so-called "defensive medicine."
The report found that 83 percent of physicians surveyed reported practicing defensive medicine and that an average of 18 to 28 percent of tests, procedures and referrals and consultations, and 13 percent of hospitalizations were ordered solely out of fear of being sued.
Here is the full article:
Diagnosed with CD in 1994;
In 1994 I was treated with Pentasa of no avail. Have being treated with Chinese herbal medicines for over 10 years.
This is frightening. It reminds me that if my family doctor makes a honest mistake, he cannot even explain or apologize for his mistake. It makes for huge trust issues, when the relationship can be life or death for some of us. In our state, lawmakers are working for tort reform, but that lets them off the hook cheeply, even if it is a not so honest mistake. There are no easy answers.
Post Edited (Margie11) : 11/18/2008 10:03:05 AM (GMT-7)
This is an issue I have worked on in the public policy arena and it one of the most frustrating things in our society. Essentially, the courts and the legal profession insist on regarding the practice of medicine as a science, when in fact it is an art. They expect predictable outcomes when, as all Crohnies know too well, each patient is unique and each disease course distinctive. So we have grafted a "we know what should always happen and we will sue anyone involved in a varient outcome" legal expectation on a field where the reality is that there are no absolute certainties and no assurances that everyone will get well every time. The prototype was the explosion of costly lawsuits in cases of cerebral palsy . . . doctors were being held accountable for tens of millions of dollars for "causing" CP, when in fact there was no real evidence that CP was anything other than bad luck in many cases. The result? More C-sections as defensive medicine, higher costs, longer hospital stays, etc.
There is room for adequate compensation in cases of true medical malpractice resulting in real harm from actual, provable negligence. . . but those cases are only a small fraction of those filed and settled. The norm is more like the CP casesd above, or the sometimes preposterous ones we all read about. Expecting perfection from an imperfect field is always self-defeating. Next time you get a bill for some tests you probably did not need, thank a lawyer . . .
just a zebra...
Post Edited (MMMNAVY) : 11/18/2008 9:59:11 AM (GMT-7)
Those unnecessary tests, ordered out of "defensive medicine", not only increased the health care costs, but also exposed patients to harmful radiations and other side effects.
MRI contrast side effects could lead to a painful and disfiguring disorder for those with kidney problems or impaired renal function. Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, also known as Nephrogenic Fibrosing Dermopathy (NFS/NFD), is a progressive disease which has been observed in kidney patients after receiving a gadolinium based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent.