Tuesday, 20 of November of 2018

Defensive Medicine, Fact or Fiction?

 By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia


Another study has been published that seems to tout the rise of defensive medicine.  But what is the real issue here?

If doctors are overloading patients with unnecessary tests to avoid possible malpractice claims, and driving up the cost of medical care as a result, wouldn’t that be called insurance fraud, instead of defensive medicine?  The reality is that doctors are ordering sophisticated tests and procedures to diagnose complex illnesses, in which case, it is medically necessary and there is no “defensive medicine” at work.

Basically, some doctors may order unnecessary tests for many different reasons.  But, studies show that so-called “defensive medicine” is not a widespread incident. 

How can ordering a sophisticated test that validly avoids preventable diseases, be considered “defensive medicine?”  If your loved one was sick you would want as many tests done as possible until a diagnosis was made.  Defensive medicine is just another buzz word that doctors and insurance companies throw out there to convince the general public that tort reform, legal changes designed to make it more difficult for injured victims to sue those responsible, are needed.

So why would anyone want to limit the rights of a victim?  The people at fault do.  Negligent doctors and insurance companies have created the myth of defensive medicine as a way to convince the public and lawmakers that malpractice suits make health care costly and unaffordable. 

They then try to pass laws to limit the ability of patients who are victims of medical errors to hold doctors and hospitals accountable for their mistakes.  They expect people to believe that “defensive medicine” will go away, if they are not held responsible for their mistakes.  These changes would greatly affect Virginia medical malpractice lawyers, Virginia doctors, and those in Virginia who have suffered from medical malpractice and are seeking compensation.

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released October 9, 2009, found that there is no evidence of defensive medicine in private managed care systems. 
The CBO report notes that “Imposing limits on [the right to sue for damages] might be expected to have a negative impact on health outcomes.” CBO cites a study that finds that restricting the right to seek compensation for malpractice would lead to a .2 percent increase in the nation’s overall death rate. That means an additional 48,000 Americans killed and more than 400,000 injured by medical malpractice over the next ten years.

The facts are clear. Limiting or severely restricting the ability to file a claim in court for medical malpractice denies justice to injured individuals while benefiting big corporations’ balance sheets.


About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm which focuses on injury and accident law and our attorneys have experience handling medical malpractice cases, which includes hospital/doctor mistakes, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free, initial consultations so give us a call at 1-800-752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, please leave a message and we will return your call promptly. Also be sure to check out our free special reports on the Top 10 Tips from a Medical Malpractice Insider and the top 5 surgical errors you must know about. Our primary office in based in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA) and we also have a North Carolina (NC) law office.  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. Our injury attorneys also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service.

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