Most people trust their doctors to do what’s best for them.
So when a doctor recommends a treatment or a surgical procedure, most patients follow the doctor’s recommendation – after all, the doctor is the one with the training and experience.
But sometimes, doctors recommend and perform surgeries and other procedures that simply aren’t necessary. A doctor might operate when physical therapy would have been just as effective. Another doctor might install a pacemaker when blood pressure medicine was all that the patient needed.
These unnecessary procedures can have dire consequences. They can aggravate an existing condition or can cause entirely new, serious injuries. When that happens, a victim of an unnecessary procedure may have a medical malpractice claim.
Common Types of Unnecessary Procedures
Doctors perform unnecessary surgeries surprisingly often. In fact, in some medical specialties, 10-20 percent of all operations might be unnecessary, according to USA Today. More than 1,000 doctors paid money between 2005 and 2013 to settle malpractice claims that accused them of performing unnecessary or inappropriate surgical procedures. Many of those cases involved serious injuries to multiple people.
Common unnecessary procedures include:
- Heart procedures such as angioplasty and inserting stents and pacemakers
- Spinal surgery
- Knee replacement surgery
- Caesarean sections
Unnecessary procedures increase the risk that a patient’s arteries, tissues or organs will be damaged during surgery. They can lead to infection. And they can leave a patient in chronic pain or faced with a new set of health problems that didn’t exist before the unnecessary procedure was performed.
Victims of unnecessary procedures may need expensive, ongoing medical care, they may be disabled and unable to work in their former profession, and they may feel depressed and unable to engage in activities they used to enjoy. Sometimes, unnecessary procedures are fatal.
Why Do Doctors Perform Unnecessary Procedures?
There are two primary reasons that doctors perform unnecessary medical procedures:
- Money. In our health care system, doctors make more money if they conduct more procedures and tests. Unfortunately, a few doctors place their business needs ahead of the needs of their patients and perform every procedure they can – even if the patient doesn’t need it.
- Inexperience. A doctor may simply lack the knowledge and experience to identify which patients need surgery and which should be treated with less invasive methods. And the doctor may not be fully informed about the latest alternative treatments.
If you suspect that your doctor has performed an unnecessary procedure, contact Meinhart, Smith and Manning at (877) 776-1219 for a free consultation.