A recent study conducted by researchers from a variety of institutions, including Harvard
Medical School, has found that physicians who have provided the most expensive
care to patients are the least likely to be sued for
medical malpractice. The results of this study suggest that these doctors engage in so-called
“defensive medicine,” thereby subjecting them to fewer malpractice
claims. Although this practice may protect doctors, it may be detrimental
to patient care.
What is Defensive Medicine?
The term “defensive medicine practices” typically refers to
doctors ordering costly, and often unnecessary tests or other treatment
options to essentially shield themselves from liability. It can also,
however, take the form of a doctor refusing to perform certain high-risk
procedures due to the potential for a future malpractice claim. This practice
often leads to unnecessary (and expensive) tests such as CT scans, MRI
scans, biopsies, and medications like antibiotics.
Does This Benefit Patients?
Proponents of defensive medicine have argued that this can be beneficial
to patients in a number of ways. For one, performing more tests than would
typically be considered necessary can help doctors find other medical
issues. They also argue that over time, the reduced number of medical
malpractice claims will help reduce the financial burden felt by many
hospitals and medical practices.
Unfortunately, there are a number of issues with these arguments. Many
of the tests performed, such as MRIs and CT scans, are very expensive
and actually place more of a financial burden on patients and health care
providers. Also, many of these tests are not administered to find problems,
but simply to shield the physician from liability.
Call The Law Offices of Patrick L. Block, P.C.
Portland medical malpractice attorney firmly believes that doctors have an obligation to ensure the safety and
well-being of their patients – and the law is on our side. If you
believe that you or someone you love is the victim of medical malpractice,
our experienced team can help you pursue justice.
We fight for the victims of
medical negligence. Call (503) 491-4900 today for your
free case consultation.