Medical malpractice law deters physicians from a suboptimal practice of medicine and aims to compensate patients who are victims of physician negligence.(5,6) However, existing evidence does not support the notion that the threat of medical malpractice improves quality of care or patient outcomes.(7) On the other hand, it may increase 'defensive medicine
' among physicians practicing in high-risk specialties, (8) indirectly increasing health care costs.
Surveys done some 15 years ago about the impact on doctors after a complaint by a consumer--whether or not it was escalated to the Office of the HDC--report (among other things) that the experience undermined their confidence, lessened their trust in patients, and led them to practise more defensive medicine
. International literature tells us that clinicians are traumatised by complaints and adverse events, becoming what is known as "second victims" themselves.
However, the article places little emphasis on defensive medicine
, another major driver of unnecessary diagnostic testing, and probably of thyroid cancer overdiagnosis.
is frequently advanced as one potential explanation for the high share of GDP that the U.S.
has been going on for so many generations of physicians that most doctors practicing today don't realize they are doing it.
"The AMA vote and the results from our study add further confirmation that apologizing to patients for bad outcomes from medical error through CRP isn't just the right and honorable thing for physicians to do, it greatly reduces legal costs, stress and the needless, costly practice of defensive medicine
by physicians," Dr.
Frakes, Duke University and NBER, and Jonathan Gruber, MIT and NBER, "Defensive Medicine
: Evidence from Military Immunity"
In 2005, Studdert et al published a survey of defensive practices used by 824 emergency medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and radiologists; they found that 93% reported practicing defensive medicine
. (10) A survey of U.S.
health care costs: (1) the use of defensive medicine
, and (2) the
Virtually all doctors practice defensive medicine
, which has been defined as "deviation from sound medical practice that is induced primarily by a threat of liability."
If the tort system is operating as planned, slipshod care should be prevented and there should be almost no determinant to take on defensive medicine
. If the criteria of care are established accurately, offensive medicine should be dissuaded as overtreatment is careless.
"From exorbitant malpractice insurance premiums to the remarkably expensive practice of defensive medicine
, it is my experience that the current culture of litigation costs patients hundreds of billions of dollars," Dr.