The American College of Physicians (ACP) recently announced plans to establish guidelines meant to address excessive medical testing, a practice that not only drives up the cost of medical care, but also puts patients at risk of serious injury. In fact, performing too many tests may constitute negligent medical treatment.
According to the ACP, excessive testing – including the overuse of imaging studies, CT scans, electrocardiograms and other tests – costs between $200 and $250 billion each year. What is worse, the ACP identified at least 37 clinical situations where excessive testing may actually hurt patients. The ACP cited the example of coronary angiography – a test that involves injecting a patient with a special contrast agent and using X-rays to see the structure of the heart’s arteries – as a test that may cause more trouble for patients than it is worth, particularly when the procedure is used on low risk patients.
At first glance, attempts to reduce the number of tests patients undergo seem uncontroversial: why would physicians object to guidelines that allow them to address their patients’ concerns more efficiently? Of course, other factors are at play. In many cases, physicians favor performing more complex, more invasive procedures because it allows them to charge patients more for their treatment. In addition, some physicians cite legal concerns as a reason for performing more tests than may be necessary.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or someone you love has suffered injury due to the negligence of a physician or other medical professional, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A medical malpractice lawyer can assess your case and help you get the compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering you deserve. For more information, contact an attorney today.