Medical professionals are relied upon by patients to make diagnoses that are accurate, perform routine and complex procedures properly, and recommend testing and treatment the patient actually needs. However, there are some doctors and medical facilities that may recommend and perform procedures that the patient does not need, and are not in the patient’s best interests, so that they can increase income.
The National Academy of Sciences reported in 2005 that there was a 30 percent waste of healthcare spending in the United States. Other, more recent, studies have also shown similar results. Therefore there may be between $600 and $700 billion dollars wasted every year.
These unnecessary tests and procedures not only cost patients, insurance companies, and Medicare thousands and thousands of dollars but they also may place the lives of patients at risk. Some of these procedures could be dangerous. If these procedures are unneeded then the risk of the procedure outweighs the benefits. The well-being of the patient and not their income should be the doctor’s first priority. All the risks and benefits of the test or procedure should be communicated to the patient so that the patient can make an informed decision.
There are many different tests and procedures that may be overused, including:
- Antibiotics for sinusitis (a complication of the common cold)
- Colonoscopies (within 10 years of a previous procedure)
- CT or MRI scans for fainting
- CT scans for appendicitis in children
- Frequent PAP tests in low-risk, healthy women
- Heart screening in healthy patients
- Imaging tests for severe headaches
- X-rays for lower back pain
While these tests and procedures may be necessary in certain situations, they should not be performed if there is not a reason. If a patient is healthy and has low-risk, in certain situations, he or she may be able to forgo medical tests. This saves the patient and the insurance provider money and the patient unnecessary pain, discomfort, and complications that may arise because of the test.
Reasons an Unnecessary Procedure may be Performed
There are a number of reasons why an unnecessary medical procedure or test may be performed, including negligence, fraud, or other types of wrongdoing of healthcare professionals. Patients may be misdiagnosed and the wrong procedure then recommended. Test results may be misread, and the patient could be mistakenly diagnosed with a serious condition that requires surgery, when the patient may have only needed medication. Other times, procedures are performed only to increase profits.
Whenever an unnecessary procedure is performed, the patient experiences undue physical pain, emotional trauma, and financial loss. If you or a loved one has had an unnecessary procedure performed, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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