Why physicians order so many tests

Doctors “don’t want to miss anything”, and the fear of litigation is one reason for the exploding health care costs:

The third, often lamented, reason we “don’t want to miss anything” is because of an intense fear of litigation. The medical student is frequently reminded by mentors of the likelihood for lawsuits brought about by a missed diagnosis. As a consequence, the practicing physician has a tendency to practice defensive medicine, ordering as many tests and requesting a multitude of additional consultations in an attempt to stave off potential legal action. It is an unfortunate truth that the phrase “first do no harm” has taken new meaning when finished by “…to your attorney’s case.”

(via Mark Perry)

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