Cause of death: Defensive medicine


An opinion piece, with some sobering examples, of where defensive medicine and over-treatment resulted in some individual and family tragedies. As I am now reading Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think, not quite sure it is quite as simple as presented below, although I am no fan of the overly litigious nature of society. In addition, patients have a role in questioning the need for tests (before the fact, not after).

Our medical malpractice system has clouded the judgment of many physicians and it needs to be fixed for the health of our patients. When we encourage doctors to just “snap out of it” and “stop worrying about being sued” how should we instruct them to avoid being sued for multiple millions of dollars? Until the answer to this question involves something other than “defensive medicine,” over-testing, overtreatment, and overmedication will persist and the cause of death on many death certificates will continue to be inaccurate.

Cause of death: Defensive medicine.


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