A survey taken of 435 emergency room physicians nationwide reveals that 97 percent of all the surveyed doctors say that they have ordered medically unnecessary tests to prevent malpractice lawsuits. These tests affect patients from Arizona and around the nation. Unnecessary tests often return "false positives" that lead to more expensive treatments for illnesses patients may not actually have or reveal undiagnosed illnesses that have yet to emerge and have no impact on the patient's present life.
The author of the survey says that doctors are ordering more costly imaging and other hospital-based testing because of fears of missing something while treating a patient and being sued for malpractice based on doctor errors. Eight-five percent of the survey respondents say they believe they, their colleagues and other hospital staff order too many non-medically necessary tests on patients for the same reasons.
Unnecessary medical tests, including MRI, CAT and PET imaging scans as well as other procedures and treatments, waste an estimated $210 billion per year. Additionally, the lead author was quoted as saying that such unnecessary procedures actually increase the risk of harm to a patient by potentially reducing the quality of life and exposing the patient to needless and expensive medical treatments for ailments which either do not exist or are not of sufficient severity to warrant medical intervention.
In a case where doctor errors contributed to a patient's condition through misdiagnosis, improper treatment or unnecessary testing, an attorney might begin by ordering a thorough review of the patient's medical records prior to, during and after the testing and procedures. The attorney may advocate for the client with the doctor or hospital's malpractice insurance and possibly pursue the matter as a civil action in litigation if settlement is not an option.