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Physicians Admit One-Fifth of All Medical Care Is Unnecessary

March 16th, 2018
By Zach Christiansen of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Medical Malpractice on Friday, March 16, 2018.

The American Medical Association (AMA) administered a survey on overtreatment to an online community of physicians in 2017, and the results were disturbing. Researchers wanted to know about the prevalence, causes, and implications of unnecessary medical care from the very doctors who provided it.


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Assuming those who participated were honest, more than 20 percent of all medical care ordered in this country is unnecessary. In 2017, CNBC reported that Americans spend $3.4 trillion on health care annually, which means they are wasting roughly $6.8 billion on screenings, diagnostic tests, procedures, and prescriptions they do not need.

Physicians claimed they were most likely to administer unnecessary medical care when they were unable to access medical records, feared a potential malpractice lawsuit, or received a request from the patient. Additionally, 71 percent of respondents said other providers may be more likely to perform needless procedures when they profit from them.

Regardless of why it might occur, overtreatment is dangerous because it can have devastating consequences. At the end of the day, every medication has potential side effects, and every procedure has risks.

If you think you received unnecessary medical care and suffered damages as a result, turn to The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm. David A. Bowling will assess your case to determine if you may be entitled to compensation. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney in New Orleans.

Some Invasive Surgeries Are Prime Examples of Overtreatment

In the AMA’s survey, physicians revealed the breakdown of overtreatment. According to their responses, approximately 25 percent of all tests are unnecessary, as are 22 percent of all prescription mediations and 11 percent of all procedures.

Researchers determined that spinal and knee surgeries were two of the most common needless treatments. In certain circumstances, these procedures provide no more benefit to patients than physical therapy or even no treatment at all.

One of the more disturbing examples of a physician performing unnecessary invasive surgeries happened right here in Louisiana. In 2009, a federal jury convicted a local doctor on more than 50 counts of health care fraud.

According to testimony, the provider performed needless coronary surgeries on his patients. He billed both private health insurance companies and Medicare for these procedures and collected more than $3 million for himself and the facilities where he worked.

The physician received a 10-year prison sentence for his wrongdoings. He began serving his time in 2012.

Sadly, patients who incur solely financial damages as the result of unnecessary medical care are the lucky ones. When complications arise during needless surgery, damages can include lifelong disabilities and even permanent paralysis.

If you received unnecessary treatment and suffered an injury or illness as a result, contact The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm today. A New Orleans medical malpractice lawyer can help you hold the liable provider and facility financially accountable for the damages.

David A. Bowling has more than three decades of trial experience. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a case evaluation. You can learn more about malpractice in Louisiana by visiting the USAttorneys website.

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