Stents are very important and great medical inventions and tools a physician has in their arsenal to save patients. Basically, a stent is just an artificial tube that goes into a patient’s body and is used to create or retain flow through a passage. This is most popularly known as a treatment for heart attacks, strokes, and other blood/artery related usage. But they are also used in the ureter to combat kidney stones, in the urethra for help an individual urinate, in the ears to help with drainage, and even in the esophagus for certain kinds of throat cancer. They could be made out of plastic or metal mesh-like materials.
But as great as these are, there are drawbacks. Yet the drawbacks come from not the stent, the people using them. Doctors have been accused and successfully sued for what is now known as over-stenting. One doctor gave his patient—a concededly stubborn 80-year-old man who refused a bypass surgery—32 stents in just 13 months! Another out-of-state hospital ended up settling for $1.8 million to end allegations of unnecessary stenting and health care fraud. Another doctor was accused of unnecessary stenting as many as 369 patients and ended up losing his license and costing a hospital $22 million.
Now there is a lot of resentment from the tort reform aimed at the high costs of medical malpractice and “ambulance chasers.” This is so misplaced. Medical malpractice lawsuits seek to right the aggrieved patient and try to make them whole again. But that is difficult because in medical cases, sometimes we cannot just bring back the patient or fix something so simply as a breach of contract or a manufacture deficiency. The only way to fix patients is to get money to compensate their harm.
But what really is raising the costs of health care? Unnecessary procedures like over-stenting. This is because now, not only do we have an unnecessary procedure—any expensive unnecessary procedure—but we now have to find a way to right the patient and bring a lawsuit. There are complications and in unnecessary procedures and I have even posted a few months ago that patients who receive more procedures end up generally end up in a worse condition as opposed to those patients that just receive procedures that are absolutely necessary. These are the true contributors to the costs of health care, not physicians being sued and a reformation through the tort reform, but physicians who are mindlessly prescribing and performing procedures that are not medically necessary. These are what are driving up our costs, not the litigation, it is the MEDICINE—the unnecessary medicine—that is causing it!
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.