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According to the National Cancer Institute, overtreatment is the treatment of a cancer (or any other health problem or disorder) that would have been asymptomatic or gone away on its own. Overtreatment can include unnecessary tests, screenings and treatments.
Recent studies have discussed “overtreatment” in detail. A study in PLOS One reviewed what physicians believe about overtreatment of their patients. According to the study, most doctors in the U.S. think that overtreatment is “harmful, wasteful and common.” The 2,106 physicians surveyed for the study believe that a median of 20.6 percent of all medical care in the country was unnecessary. The study uncovered estimated percentages of unnecessary treatments, including 22 percent of prescriptions, 24.9 percent of tests and 11.1 percent of medical procedures.
In the PLOS One study, 85 percent of the respondents stated that the reason for overtreatment was fear of medical malpractice lawsuits. However, the fear seems to be distorted. Only 2 to 3 percent of patients harmed while receiving medical care actually pursue lawsuits.
Additionally, around 60 percent of doctors say that patients ask for unnecessary treatments. Only a small percentage believed that limited access to medical records resulted in the issue. More than 70 percent of physicians also concluded that they are more likely to overtreat when they profit from the treatments.
Overtreatment might seem harmless from the patient’s point of view. However, if your doctor is overtreating you due to their own financial reasons or fear of a lawsuit, they might ignore or miss the serious medical issue that you’re facing. Overtreatment might lead to improper treatment and further injury or illness.
If you have been injured while receiving medical care, contact a medical malpractice attorney today for help. The Bay Area attorneys at Mitchell Leeds, LLP can help you determine whether it would be possible to pursue compensation. Call us at (415)769-3400 or use our online case review form.