New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
Unnecessary Medical Care to NY Patients Increases Risk of Mistakes
New York catastrophic injury lawyers provide representation to plaintiffs hurt by the very people they trusted most to help their health: medical doctors and caregivers. Medical malpractice can cause devastating harm to patients, permanently changing their lives or sometimes resulting in death. Victims of malpractice deserve to be fully compensated for losses, while family members of victims killed by medical care providers should make wrongful death claims.
Unfortunately, fear of malpractice lawsuits sometimes prompts doctors to recommend and provide unnecessary and inappropriate medical care. Not only does this come at great cost to the healthcare system, but these unnecessary procedures could also lead to malpractice claims if the treatments or tests are botched.
Patients Put at Risk By Unnecessary Medical Services
Recently, John’s Hopkins University Hub reported on a survey conducted of more than 2,000 doctors practicing in many different fields of medicine. The survey revealed that most doctors believe over-treatment of patients is common. In fact, the majority of the physicians responding to the survey said they believed as much as 15 percent to 30 percent of medical care administered to patients in the United States is not necessary medical care.
Unnecessary medical services have been found to account for an estimated $210 billion in unnecessary health expenditures every single year. Survey respondents to the John’s Hopkins survey reported they believe unnecessary care takes many forms. The responding doctors believe around 22 percent of prescription medications aren’t necessary but are prescribed anyway; 24.9 percent of medical tests are not necessary; 11.1 percent of medical procedures performed don’t really need to be undertaken; and 20.6 percent of total medical care being delivered is not actually needed by the patients.
There were several primary reasons for the over-treatment that doctors identified in response to the survey. The driving forces behind over-treatment included a desire to earn more profit, patient demand, and fear of being sued by patients in a malpractice claim. Doctors who have more experience were more likely to report that caregivers were administering unnecessary care out of a desire to earn more profit, and around 17.6 percent of total survey respondents indicated that unnecessary procedures were being performed by doctors to earn more money.
Fear of malpractice was by far the biggest reason for over-use of medical resources, with fear of being sued sited as the top reason for over-use of medical care by 84.7 percent of the survey respondents. This is ironic because the more procedures a patient has, the greater the likelihood of something going wrong with one of them and the patient being harmed. While doctors believe that making health records more accessible and adopting more evidence-based practice guidelines could be possible solutions to this problem, the incentive is likely to still remain to over-treat for many physicians.
If and when a patient is hurt by a medical procedure, the patient or his family should reach out to New York catastrophic injury lawyers as soon as possible following the incident so an injury attorney can provide assistance in holding the healthcare provider accountable for causing harm.