Lawyers and left-leaning policy wonks often discount how pervasive defensive medicine is.

WhiteCoat, an emergency physician, is almost convinced by those who call defensive medicine a figment of the medical profession's imagination.

Then he starts his shift working in the emergency department, an experience that most lawyers and policy experts do not have by the way, and cites specific examples where he made a decision specifically to thwart ...

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What is it like to be sued for malpractice?

Although many say "every physician gets sued," and, "never to talk about it," how does it affect doctors?

As I've written before, being sued for malpractice is a traumatically scarring experience. So much that up to 10 percent of doctors in this situation contemplated suicide.

George Hossfeld writes about his malpractice ordeal (via Dr. RW) ...

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Hospitalist medicine is the fastest growing medical specialty in history.

Will they having staying power? This piece (via Dr. RW) describes how doctors in the 60's and 70's didn't want to practice in the emergency department, leading to the birth of emergency medicine specialists.

The same is happening now, as primary care doctors are loathe to practice in the hospital. This is even spreading to general ...

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Apologizing after medical errors is the moral and ethical thing to do, but this attorney says otherwise.

Saying sorry can deny malpractice coverage, says attorney Steven Kern, and from a legal perspective, "saying I'm sorry is an admission. An admission is an exception to the hearsay rule, so anyone who hears it can be called to testify against you, should legal action ensue."

What about the 35 states ...

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I've wrote an op-ed in the USA Today this past April about how defensive medicine wastes medical dollars.

Today, the editorial staff takes on the issue themselves, with a fierce piece decrying the current malpractice system as "arbitrary, inefficient and results in years of delay."

The recent Massachusetts Medical Society's study on defensive medicine was prominently included, as it was reported that "83% of its doctors practice ...

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The malpractice cap that Texas instituted in 2003 is leading to an influx of doctors.

That's good for patients who benefit from the access provided by the new physicians. However, the Texas Medical Board can't keep up with the pace of new registrations, despite increasing their staff by 28 percent over the last six years.

This is leading to a delay when dealing with patient complaints, which ...

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Plaintiff attorneys receive contingency fees only in a successful outcome, or if the suit is settled out of court.

That's why it's important for lawyers to be discerning as to which cases to accept. "Big ticket" cases like "bad babies, paraplegia, and death of a wage-earner" often have influence.

Here are other factors that attorneys consider, including "the sympathy value of the plaintiff, the credibility of ...

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Defensive medicine has always been highly controversial, but there is mounting evidence confirming its major contribution to health care spending. The Massachusetts Medical Society released a pivotal study today quantifying some of the costs of defensive medicine (via White Coat Notes). For background, I refer you to previous discussions on the issue, as well as last year's piece on the CBS Evening News that I ...

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Prominent economist Uwe Reinhardt explains why health care costs are rising. Here's how he defines defensive medicine, which is among his four identified major cost drivers:

. . . higher treatment costs triggered by our uniquely American tort laws, which in the context of medicine can lead to "defensive medicine" "” that is, the application of tests and procedures mainly as a defense against possible malpractice litigation, rather than ...

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Not an uncommon situation for the unfortunate physician on the stand. One recommendation is to "protest such inappropriate behavior yourself," and "never allow an attorney who is questioning you to raise his voice or speak to you sarcastically or rudely." Attorney Ronald Miller says that's terrible advice:

The playing field is tilted in favor of the doctor. The very best way for a doctor to blow that lead is tell ...

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