When we think of injuries that are caused by our doctors and medical provides, it is common to think of a provider performing procedures negligently or failing to conduct tests or take precautions, thus overlooking significant medical symptoms that lead to injury.
But there is another category that can lead to injury - over-testing or excessive medical treatment. In common terms, this is the practice of performing a procedure that isn't necessary or where there are no conditions that would lead a reasonably prudent doctor to conduct any such procedure.
Examples of Improper Treatments
In one recent case, a physician was convicted of performing numerous tests on patients who did not need the tests in an effort to defraud insurance.
Although there doesn't appear to be any indication of patient injury, given that most of the tests seem to be diagnostic and non-invasive, the case still reminds us how important it is to ask whether the procedures we undergo are reasonable and necessary. That is especially true with young children and the elderly, who may suffer severe and permanent effects from anesthesia and other aspects of invasive medical procedures.
In a much more serious story, a Florida dentist is accused of performing numerous unnecessary procedures on young children. Again, the motivation seems to be the collection of insurance money.
In at least one case, a mother who had brought her child in to have a tooth pulled ended up having seven of her children's teeth pulled without her knowledge or consent. There are also reports that the dentist physically assaulted the child.
When the parents of the child went public with the accusations, many more parents whose children had the same experience with the dentist came forward. Some of the patients reported hearing their children crying inside the office, but were prohibited from going inside to attend to the child.
Treatments and Insurance Payments
It can be easy for medical providers to manipulate insurance. A dentist who may cap a tooth can also be paid to pull it. Doctors can be paid to perform multiple tests, and the insurance company relies upon them to truthfully verify all are needed and necessary.
Aside from the insurance company being victimized, as the events above demonstrate, patients also get victimized.
It can be hard to discern what tests or procedures are necessary and what are not. And, of course, in many cases a doctor must legitimately perform a number of tests or procedures to come to a proper diagnosis or cure an ailment.
The issue comes down to whether a reasonable physician in the same or similar circumstances would do the same thing your doctor did. If so, there is no malpractice. But if not, there's a chance that over-testing may lead to a medical malpractice claim if it causes injury to loved ones.
Medical malpractice can be difficult and complex, and often requires attorneys who know how to work with medical experts. If you have been a victim and sustained injury, contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your rights.