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Patients can avoid costly risks by questioning medical treatments, part one

How many times have you questioned your doctor about a medication you were prescribed to take? Have you ever questioned your physician or a loved one’s doctor about a diagnosis or recommended treatment? Medical experts and patient safety advocates believe that those who ask questions in Chicago doctors’ offices and hospital rooms may not only save money on costly medical tests and treatments, but they may also be able to avoid injuries caused by overmedication or unnecessary medical treatments.

Chicago physicians have a lot of reasons to prescribe the latest pills, tests and treatments, but these reasons don’t always benefit patients. Patients often demand aggressive measures to relieve symptoms or to learn more about an illness or disease quickly. Doctors may oblige patients out of habit or a strong belief in using all of the medical resources that are available to patients. And some physicians make sure patients get instant treatment for conditions they might not suffer from in order to avoid the possibility of a medical malpractice claim.

Of course, there are certainly times when Illinois doctors must act quickly in order to properly diagnose a patient so that the patient can receive life-saving treatment. But a group representing more than 370,000 U.S. doctors in nine medical societies and specialties believes that physicians and patients also need to curb the urge to move too quickly in some situations in order to ensure that folks receive only necessary care and treatment.

Patients should feel comfortable asking their doctors more questions before opting for treatment. And in other situations, doctors need to be comfortable advising patients that it may be better to take more time to properly monitor a patient’s symptoms and health before ordering medical tests or prescribing medications.

We will continue this discussion later this week on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog and focus on some specific questions patients can ask their doctors in order to avoid costly and potentially harmful overmedication errors or overtreatment mistakes.

Source: Times Union, “5 questions you should ask to avoid overtreatment,” May 4, 2012


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