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New Report Sheds Light on Myth of Defensive Medicine

A new comprehensive article released by the Center for Justice & Democracy critiques the existence of “defensive medicine.” The claim about use of unnecessary medical procedures remains one of the common refrains made by powerful interests seeking to limit medical malpractice lawsuits.

However, arguments about the effect of “defensive medicine” on healthcare costs are entirely unproven. In most cases the idea is generated solely by doctor surveys organized by the very groups who stand to benefit from claims about rising healthcare costs. When pressed further most of these groups have a difficult time identifying what exactly constitutes defensive medicine.

For claims about defensive medicine to be true, one must believe that physicians are guilty of performing unnecessary medical procedures (in contravention of Medicare law) and exposing patients to unnecessary testing, radiation, and the like. No objective evidence supports that claim, and it proffers a very pessimistic perspective of physician judgment.

Even if one believes these false claims about defensive medicine, the practice itself has little effect on healthcare costs. One doctor quotes in the article explains that “the costs, if any, of defensive medicine, are trivial, in comparison to the medical and social costs of negligence.”

Our Chicago malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti will continue to stand firm against all misguided claims that aid in the removal of patient legal rights. All victims of poor medical care deserve fair access to the legal system with decisions made by a jury of their peers. It is a simple, time-tested method that must be defended. Contact our malpractice attorneys if you or someone you know has suffered because of inept medical hands.

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