A common argument with politicians seeking “tort reform” is to say that doctors practice defensive medicine. Tort reform is a series of laws designed to overhaul medical malpractice litigation. The idea is to reduce your ability to recover just compensation for your injuries while partially shielding doctors and hospitals from correcting preventable errors. Defensive medicine occurs when doctors order more tests than medically necessary as a protection against potential litigation.
A study from Cardozo University found that healthcare costs are, at best, tangentially related to “defensive medicine.” The study examined several reports commissioned by the Government Accountability Office, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Congressional Budget Office.
The GAO found that the overall prevalence of defensive medicine is not adequately studied therefore it is dangerous to apply these conclusions to the entire healthcare system. The OTA found that less than eight percent of diagnostic procedures were ordered as a potential shield against litigation. The OTA found that when physicians order numerous tests, it is because they determine they are medically necessary.
According to a report by the CBO, “defensive medicine” is less related to avoiding litigation and more connected to doctors who wish to earn more money. Doctors are paid on a per-procedure basis. Therefore, the more procedures and tests they order, the more money they make. The CBO estimated that any savings from tort reform would be minuscule.
Were you injured due to doctor or hospital negligence? You may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the extent of your legal rights to compensation. Many people want to move on from these mistakes and think toward the future. However, pursuing compensation is about your future. Those medical errors will likely necessitate additional medical treatment and procedures to correct, which could cost thousands of dollars. You shouldn’t pay for someone else’s mistake. A lawyer can work in an effort to help you get the compensation you deserve.