Are doctors performing too many unnecessary tests, procedures?

Earlier this week on our Joliet medical malpractice law blog, we had mentioned that primary care physicians may make more errors when diagnosing patients than our country may realize. The results of one recent study suggest that as many as 150,000 patients are affected by diagnostic errors every year throughout the country. These errors are often made because doctors fail to order appropriate medical tests or scans, or because doctors fail to fully review patients’ medical histories and symptoms.

Although not performing appropriate medical tests to correctly diagnose patients’ conditions may be harmful to patients, others in the medical field claim that medical tests and screenings are often performed when these tests are not needed. So while some research shows that medical tests are not performed enough when the tests should be performed to properly treat patients, other research suggests that some patients are facing unnecessary risks by undergoing medical tests and screenings that doctors should not be performing.

Patients in Illinois clearly have a right to feel frustrated about their care or worried about their safety. While some doctors fail to use resources that are readily available to them to diagnose patients’ conditions, other doctors use these resources too often or without justification. Patients who are not properly diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness may suffer fatal injuries as a result of not receiving medical treatment. But patients who undergo unnecessary medical tests and screenings may also suffer injuries or complications.

Seventeen medical groups recently released a report that lists about 100 medical tests, procedures and treatments the groups think are not necessary in most cases. The groups acknowledged that these tests and treatments do help patients, but the groups also believe that these tests and treatments are being overused and putting patients at risk. Some of the tests and treatments the medical groups believe are being overused in the U.S. include: CT scans, Caesarean sections, MRI exams and knee replacement operations.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Doctors list overused medical treatments,” Noam N. Levey, Feb. 20, 2013

  • Our firm provides counsel to patients and families who have been harmed by missed diagnoses and delayed diagnoses due to medical negligence and doctors’ errors. Our firm also represents patients who have been harmed after undergoing unnecessary procedures. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Joliet medical malpractice attorney page.

Failure to Diagnose

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