Patients often trust that the medical tests, treatments, and procedures ordered by their doctors are medically necessary and safe. Unfortunately, many medical tests and procedures are performed unnecessarily, which can put patients at risks for further medical complications.
Earlier this year, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation released its Choosing Wisely campaign, which lists more than 130 tests and procedures that have been called into question by 25 medical specialty societies with more than 725,000 member doctors.
Unnecessary medical tests and procedures can result in additional costs and medical risks by exposing patients to radiation and additional unnecessary medical procedures.
Among the ABIM’s list of unnecessary medical tests and procedures are:
- Induced labor or scheduled cesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, unless it is medically necessary as delivery prior to 39 weeks is associated with increased risk of learning disabilities and respiratory problems.
- Feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia since studies show that feeding tubes do not improve outcomes for dementia patients.
- Routine annual Pap tests in women 30 to 65 years of age because screenings every three years are adequate for women with average risk for cervical cancer.
- CT scans to evaluate minor child head injuries.
- Stress tests using echocardiographic images to assess cardiovascular risk in persons who have no symptoms and a low risk of coronary disease.
- Acid suppression therapy to treat acid reflux in infants.
- Chest x-rays before surgery.
According to Scientific American, a 2012 report by the Institute of Medicine estimated that $750 billion—about 30 percent of all health spending in 2009—was spent on unnecessary medical procedures and other wasted health care costs, such as excessive administrative costs and fraud. As we reported, last month, several doctors and high level executives at Chicago’s Sacred Heart Hospital were arrested in connection with a massive scheme that involved Medicare/Medicaid fraud and allegations of unnecessary medical procedures, including unnecessary tracheotomies.
Unnecessary medical treatments and procedures, like tracheotomies, MRIs, and CT scans, can exacerbate medical conditions, create new medical risks, and can even result in death. For instance, an unnecessary tracheotomy, like those allegedly performed at Sacred Heart Hospital, can cause severe bleeding, damage to the voice box or esophagus, windpipe damage, bacterial infections, and the inability of the tracheotomy opening to close.
If you have received an unnecessary medical test or procedure, you may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney like the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC. We can help you assess the situation to determine whether you may have been the victim of medical malpractice.
Contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule your free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Illinois unnecessary medical treatment lawyers.