While there are many types of medical malpractices, one that is especially troublesome and unnervingly common is the performance of unnecessary surgeries. An unnecessary surgery not only adds additional financial and physical strain to the patient, but it can also cause their condition to worsen, eventually leading to death.
Surgeons are experienced and highly specialized individuals, so it is concerning that they would even recommend unnecessary surgeries to their patients. However, it does happen more often than you would realize. A surgeon may prescribe and perform an unnecessary surgery due to the following reasons:
They follow traditional or standard procedure
Medicine is an ever-growing field of study. Surgeons should embrace new procedures that are less invasive and learn innovative, practical alternatives. By doing so, they can give their patients the best and most effective treatments available. The problem is some surgeons refuse to learn and stick with traditional medical methods even when these procedures have proven to be more harmful to patients than helpful.
They prioritize financial gain over the patient’s wellbeing
Surgeons can earn much more from surgeries than prescribing medication or suggesting lifestyle changes to their patients. In one recent analysis of Medicare claims, the researchers discovered that several surgeons performed atherectomies on approximately 30,000 patients who may not have even needed the surgery.
Atherectomies are easy and very profitable procedures, and the surgeons who do them can charge Medicare tens of thousands of dollars for one office visit alone. One surgeon stood out because he amassed $45 million from Medicare for performing thousands of atherectomies. Quite a number of the patients who received the atherectomies only had a diagnosis for claudication. They received the aggressive procedure too early, meaning they might not have even needed it at all.
The surgeons warned their patients that without the atherectomy, they could lose their legs or arms. Instead, the patients who underwent the procedure were at a higher risk of amputation.
They fail to diagnose the patient accurately
If a surgeon misdiagnoses a patient’s condition, they could think the patient needs surgery even when it is completely unnecessary. A misdiagnosis is preventable had the surgeon ordered more tests or administered a more comprehensive medical examination.
A patient could suffer avoidable and often extensive damages when unnecessary surgeries happen. Fortunately, they can look to the law to provide financial relief.