Is it time to step up the defense?

The tabloid Boston Herald writes a lawyer-friendly medical malpractice piece, showing conscientious plaintiff lawyers busy diagnosing cancer that radiologists have missed:

The article implies that doctors are clearly not achieving the 100% accuracy rates that lawyers and patients are demanding:

Doctors in the medical mecca of Boston are missing cancer diagnoses at a troubling rate, lawyers for both patients and doctors charge, and more critically ill patients and their families are lining up at state courts to press claims.

“We have some of the best hospitals in the world and some of the very best are making some of the very worst of mistakes,” said Boston malpractice attorney Robert C. Gabler. “It is undeniable that there is more failure to diagnose going on.”

Failure-to-diagnose represents 1/3 of all malpractice claims. Think of the malpractice savings if doctors just endoscoped, CT’ed, MRI’ed, PET scanned, and catheterized every complaint.

Many doctors are already doing this – and are thankful they are, proud that they are practicing defensive medicine. From a physician standpoint, the benefits of overtesting greatly outweighs the consequences.