The Reality about Defensive Medicine

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Reality about Defensive Medicine


Guy limps off the tennis court with an obvious sprained ankle. The doctor tells him to go home, elevate the leg and put some ice where it hurts.

Guy says: "Hey, aren't I going to get an X-ray?"

Doctor: "No, you don't need one."

Guy: "I think I ought to have one. I read somewhere ..."

Next thing you know, the physician is ordering an X-ray. That takes five minutes, whereas arguing with the patient would have consumed 15.

Besides, if there's a one-in-a-zillion chance that some exotic disease is causing the ankle pain, the doctor may be at risk of a medical malpractice suit. So the physician does the defensive thing and orders more tests.

Add up millions of little dramas like the above, and you can see how defensive medicine drives up health care costs. One study puts the tab at over $45 billion a year.

By the way, defensive medicine does not necessarily benefit patients. It subjects them to extra tests and procedures, some of them invasive and not without their own risk.

It's been assumed that fear of lawsuits leading to mega-awards pushes doctors to practice defensive medicine and that tort reform will fix the problem. The story is more complicated than that.

Researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change, Harvard University and the University of Iowa investigated how worry over malpractice suits affects doctors' decisions. Their findings were published in the journal Health Affairs.

The study linked the level of concern expressed by office-based doctors to their Medicare claims for patients treated. It specifically looked at patients visiting a doctor's office with one of three complaints: chest pain, headache or lower back pain. These symptoms can represent a wide range of health problems, from very minor to very serious. So doctors can justify starting modestly in their treatment or throwing the kitchen sink at them after the first visit. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Reality about Defensive Medicine
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.