A substantial number of U.S. heart doctors — about one in four — say they order medical tests that might not be needed out of fear of getting sued, according to a new study.
Nearly 600 doctors were surveyed for the study to determine how aggressively they treat their patients and whether non-medical issues have influenced their decisions to order invasive heart tests.
Most said they weren't swayed by such things as financial gain or a patient's expectations. But about 24% of the doctors said they had recommended the test in the previous year because they were worried about malpractice lawsuits. About 27% said they did it because they thought their colleagues would do the test.
Doctors who treated their patients aggressively were more likely to be influenced by malpractice worries or peer pressure than those who weren't as aggressive, the study determined.
Medical malpractice was part of the health care reform debate, but didn't make it into the recently approved legislation. The new law does include pilot programs for states to explore alternatives to lawsuits.
That's odd because we don't recall any actual debate with respect to tort reform. Hell, we don't recall any actual debate whatsoever with respect ObamaCare.
And this notion of leaving it to the states? Don't recall where there has been any prohibition against states seeking to reign-in trial lawyers even before ObamaCare.