Fort Wayne Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer and Attorney Blog

Over testing due to Defensive Medicine

Unnecessary health risks are being generated in patients because doctors are afraid of someone accusing them of not doing everything possible for a condition or “just in case” procedures and testing. Doctors order unnecessary tests out of a fear of missing something.

These unnecessary tests are expensive for patients and health care costs overall. Patients could potentially suffer accidents or damage from radiation exposure when unnecessary tests or procedures are performed. This is the case with CT scans. Also, stent insertion in healthy people with no prior arterial blockage can result in scar tissue build up, and the risk of artery perforation with the procedure. Test may be utilised as they are quicker than other diagnostic methods available. 

A study on low risk patients at the ER for chest pain showed that with extra time and referral to their primary care physicians, heart attack turned out not to be the problem or cause of chest pain. Testing should only be done in these cases if it improves care, and improves the overall outcomes. Ordering a test such a CT scan for patients with little risk of heart attack exposes them to 600 times the radiation of a traditional x-ray and greatly increases the recipient’s risk for cancer development further into the future. 

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