Costs are forcing more patients to leave against medical advice

But can that be a good thing?

More patients have higher deductible health insurances, making them question the costs of emergency room tests and treatments. The fear of sticker shock is causing some to leave the hospital against medical advice.

In fact, discharges against a doctor’s advice jumped by almost 50 percent over the last decade.

Such cases can range from patients not willing to stay overnight to exclude a heart attack, to leaving before appropriate x-rays and scans can be performed.

In most cases, those who leave often come back in worse shape, forcing doctors to treat a more severe condition.

But, some view this trend as having positive implications. Jeffrey Sankoff, an emergency physician in Denver, sees the explicit discussion of the pros and cons of refusing medical care as a positive.

“Testing is out of control ,” he says. “I think it’s good we’re having those conversations about risks and benefits.”

Perhaps the man has a point.

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