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.