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Defensive Medicine Kills

Not just snake oil wasting our money, but an actual snake quietly poisoning us.

by
Dr. Peter Weiss

Bio

July 27, 2012 - 2:07 pm
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Have you ever had a headache? Have you ever had diarrhea? Have you ever taken aspirin?

If so, you may be entitled to compensation for complications from taking aspirin. Call us now. We don’t get paid until you do, and then we take 40%. Why risk your hard-earned money on work? Come roll the dice. It’s free. It’s America.

Okay, maybe I got a little carried away there, but not by much. Late night TV ads now solicit “clients” who have had “complications” from some sort of medical treatment. Never mind that “complications” does not equal malpractice. Life is a complication. Malpractice is supposed to be just that, not maloccurrence.

This problematic scenario forces physicians to practice defensive medicine. This has nothing to do with what’s the best medicine, only with what trial lawyers have forced us to do. Defensive medicine has become “standard of care.”

The true cost of defensive medicine is hard to pinpoint. Estimates range from between 10% and 25% of every health care dollar spent. Many of us believe it may even be higher.

Defensive medicine not only costs us a hell of a lot of money, it may also kill us! Doctors call for more than 62 million CAT scans annually in the USA. According to a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine article, one-third were probably unnecessary. Again, many physicians feel that may be an underestimate.

Here comes the real kicker. The radiation dose from a single CAT scan is 500 times that of a plain chest X-ray.

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