Sunday, March 06, 2011

Malpractice Fears Can Influence Medical Practice

(HealthDay News) -- Peer pressure and fear of malpractice lawsuits seem to be behind the decisions by some doctors to order unnecessary cardiac catheterizations, new research suggests.

When asked in a national survey why they might order this potentially hazardous procedure that measures blood flow to the human heart, even when it might not be called for clinically, the top two reasons that cardiologists around the country gave were the fact that other doctors do it routinely and that patients might sue if the test wasn't done.

"We didn't say unnecessary," noted study author Frances Lee Lucas, an epidemiologist with the Maine Medical Center in Portland, whose report was published in the April 13 online edition of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. "We said how often for non-clinical reasons. We didn't want to say unnecessary because we knew nobody would ever say they ordered an unnecessary test." Read more...

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