What Is Defensive Medicine and Why Do Doctors Practice It?

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The constant rise in medical malpractice cases has become a burning issue.

Statistics show that each year an average of 17,000 malpractice lawsuits are being filed as medical error becomes the third leading cause of death in our country.

These figures partially justify why the number of doctors who decide to practice defensive medicine is also on the rise. However, this increase also gives way to concern.

Read on to gain more insight into the concept of defensive medicine, its consequences, and the main reasons why doctors practice it.

What Does Defensive Medicine Mean?

Defensive medicine is a way of practicing medicine that:

  • Focuses on reducing doctors' liability risks
  • Changes the traditional patient-oriented paradigm

Healthcare providers who embrace defensive medicine avoid treatments and procedures they consider risky for fear of being sued for medical malpractice.

While safeguarding practitioners, defensive medicine puts patients' health at risk by:

  • Reducing patients' access to effective treatments and procedures that might benefit them
  • Encouraging doctors to prescribe unnecessary medication or perform redundant tests
  • Increasing the cost of medical care that rises from this type of practice
  • Increasing patients' mistrust of this profession and that insuperable fear of going to the doctor
  • Causing irreparable damage to the doctor-patient relationship

Why Do Doctors Choose To Practice Defensive Medicine?

Almost 80% of healthcare providers who practice defensive medicine think it's a solution to prevent them from getting dragged into a medical malpractice lawsuit. Legal action could:

  • Impact their future career and prospects
  • Pose risks to their financial security
  • Damage their reputation irrevocably

Other practitioners are driven to this methodology because they want to adhere to a standard that changed the medical landscape dramatically. Some even give in and accept the compromise due to their colleagues' insistence.

Fear of mistakes is another factor that urges doctors, especially young ones, in this direction. Last but not least, some practitioners who have seen their peers go through a legal lawsuit resort to defensive medicine to avoid going the same route.

The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary has vast experience in medical malpractice litigation. Call us, and we'll schedule you for an initial free consultation:

  • We will assess your case promptly and thoroughly and
  • Let you know if you can bring a claim to recover compensation

Contact Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney Sean M. Cleary

Defective Product Lawyer

There is a thin line between the dangers of medical malpractice and those of defensive medicine. Bottom line: both can have serious consequences on people's health and restrict their right to access quality healthcare.

Until the standards of medical practice shift again toward a patient-oriented direction, the only option is to consult a different specialist if you feel you are not getting proper assistance.

If you suspect medical malpractice and you're not sure where you stand, you should contact an experienced lawyer who can evaluate your situation and see if you have a potential malpractice claim.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.