Chris Rangel talks about his case of defensive medicine

“Last week I admitted a woman in her 40s, relatively healthy, who had suffered a syncopal event (passed out). The woman had taken a gazillion doses of Benadryl (self medicating for a prior allergic reaction to food), didn’t sleep well, and had not eaten that day. Initial routine work-up was negative and every aspect of my training and experience told me that this patient had no serious underlying illness that had caused her syncope.

By her history she had a simple faint. She really didn’t even totally pass out! But I couldn’t be 100% sure. If this woman goes home and dies from some condition (no matter how rare) that I didn’t test for then I’ll be in lawsuit hell. So I ordered a ton of expensive tests and cardiology and neurology consults who ordered even more exotic and expensive tests. Result? –> Zip. Zero. Nada. Nunca. Nothi’n . . and this case is far from unusual. So basically I blew up her hospital bill by thousands of dollars. But she doesn’t pay for any of this excess cost and neither do I (neither do I benefit from it).”

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