Defensive Medicine Kills
Not just snake oil wasting our money, but an actual snake quietly poisoning us.
July 27, 2012 - 2:07 pm
According to that same NEJM article, it’s estimated that 1.5% to 2% of all cancers in the USA in the next few decades may relate to radiation from CAT scan studies. You can blame the doctors all you want, but we are pressured to “overkill,” both literally and figuratively.
Reminds me of that old cartoon. The patient rests in the hospital bed with his lawyer lying next to him. The doctor asks the patient: “How are you today?”
And the lawyer answers.
We hear much about the number of deaths from “medical errors.” This narrative began when an Institute of Medicine article stated that medical errors cause up to 98,000 deaths a year in U.S. hospitals. This received huge play in the mainstream media. While any medical error is bad — and sometimes tragic — they do not occur to the extent reported. The original report relied on a study from 1991. Only a small subset (27%) referred to negligent or substandard care. That still leaves the number of medical error deaths at a staggering 27,000, but the remainder of these adverse events were normal complications of medical and surgical care, such as infection and post-surgical bleeding. There we go again with “complications” equaling malpractice.
The other neglected point: how many “complications” were due to care in a teaching institution or training program? This study also failed to consider the quality of outpatient facilities or private medicine.
This brings me back to the problem at hand: Obamacare. (You knew I would find a way to knock the Unaffordable Care Act!)