Doctors Who Spend More on Patients Are Less Likely to be Sued

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US_Navy_060510-N-3532C-008_The_Computerized_Tomography_(CT)_scan_machine_aboard_the_Military_Sealift_Command_hospital_ship_USNS_Mercy_(T-AH_19)_uses_x-rays_and_computers_to_create_cross-sections_of_bodily_tissuesA new study has shown that doctors who spend more on their patients, in the forms of tests and services, are less likely to be sued for medical malpractice.

No matter the specialty, doctors who ordered more tests, regardless of patient need, were at a reduced risk of being taken to court for medical malpractice. These doctors practice what is known as defensive medicine, or medicine that is more about reducing claims than providing further diagnosis or treatment options.

Researchers did point out that although each specialty saw a drop in medical malpractice claims when doctors ordered more tests and ultimately charged the patient’s more money, the study had limitations. For example, the study used hospital admissions data only and ignored outpatient and private practice data. The study also focused on Florida. Researchers are unsure if the same trend is present in other states.

No one is certain why the results are what they are, but the current thinking is that patients may believe that doctors who exhaust all avenues are more attentive and trustworthy. These doctors may be less likely to be sued if they make a mistake or miss a diagnosis.

While defensive medicine may protect doctors from medical malpractice claims, it may not be what is best for patients. Forcing patients to pay for unnecessary tests is not something that all medical professionals consider ethical.

If you or a family member have been the victim of medical malpractice in New York, call our office. A member of our team will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of the options available to you. Call now for assistance.

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