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Survey: Medical Malpractice Fears Cause Docs to Overtest

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Chicago, ILDoctors' fear of being sued for medical malpractice may lead to the overtesting and overtreatment of patients.

span itemprop="image" itemscope itemtype="" style="display:block">A recent survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that 91 percent of doctors said that their fear of medical malpractice lawsuits impels them to order more tests and procedures for their patients. According to the Associated Press, the survey polled 1,231 ER doctors, surgeons, primary care doctors and other specialists.

Patient advocate Helen Haskell of the group Mothers against Medical Errors, whose son died because of a medical mistake, was unsurprised by the survey results.

"I think they certainly believe that, but at the same time the overtesting is both easy and profitable for them rather than spending time with the patient ... to get to the root of things," she told the news source.

The survey also revealed that male doctors are more likely to overtreat patients than their female counterparts. Overall, 93 percent of male doctors versus 87 percent of female doctors said their fear of medical malpractice changes the way they treat patients.


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