Emergency room doctors ordering unnecessary tests, survey says

Friday March 27, 2015

According to survey results published in Academic Emergency Medicine, 97 percent of emergency room doctors said they have ordered cat scans or MRIs in order to avoid medical malpractice lawsuits. The findings are the result of a survey of 435 ER doctors.

The doctors said the tests were because they didn’t want to miss diagnosing something, which could lead to medical malpractice. The lead researcher, an ER doctor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that unnecessary tests like MRIs and cat scans can really present a risk of patient harm. For example, the doctor said that a “false positive” might appear as a result, which could lead to a patient more tests, biopsies and even treatments that could be harmful for an illness or disease that he or she didn’t have in the first place.

There is also the costs of these unnecessary tests. The researchers reported that $210 billion was estimated to have been wasted on tests that were not needed. The doctor noted above said that one way to prevent defensive medicine is to have more shared-decision making and patient education to allow patients to determine if they want or need the tests.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are often filed because of a physician’s negligence, such as not ordering the correct or necessary tests. However, these lawsuits also result because a physician did not diagnose a condition properly, which could occur when an unnecessary test produced a false negative result.

Those whose health conditions are made worse because of medical negligence or malpractice or the family of those who die because of the same may have a cause to seek compensation through civil court. An experienced attorney can help those in Connecticut learn more about filing such a case.

Source: wsfa.com, “Malpractice fears spurring most ER docs to order unnecessary tests,” Dennis Thompson, March. 24, 2015

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