What about defensive medicine?
Tort reformers commonly complain that "defensive medicine" - performing unnecessary tests and procedures to prevent litigation - is driving up the cost of medicine. A new study by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the failure to order appropriate tests and procedures was a factor in almost 33% of malpractice cases the researchers studied.
"PHILADELPHIA -- Basic errors made by doctors, including tests ordered too late or not at all and failure to create follow-up plans, played a role in nearly 60 percent of cases in which patients were allegedly hurt by missed or delayed diagnoses, a study found.
Researchers in the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday, reviewed 307 closed medical malpractice claims, 181 of which allegedly involved diagnostic errors that ended up harming patients. A large majority of those cases involved various types of cancer.
While researchers acknowledged that most claims involved several factors, they said major ones included mistakes by doctors: failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests (100 cases); failure to create a proper follow-up plan (81); failure to obtain an adequate history or perform an adequate physical examination (76); and incorrect interpretation of tests (67)."
30% of the cases they examined involved the death of a patient.
Doesn't it seem foolish to be concerned with how much money is lost by unnecessary testing when so many lives are lost when necessary tests aren't run?