[quote=“MDMikeB, post:10, topic:38513”]
practicing “defensive medicine” as a means of self-protection on the part of doctors.
[/quote]I suffered an example of THAT recently.
I had bruised my tail bone (coccyx) by missing to plant my butt on the seat of a chair and came down full force on the wooden arm of the chair (in a doctor’s office . . . a Urologist . . . no less.) OUCHHHHH!
The pain was severe every time later when I went to sit down on my LazyBoy, or sit on anything for that matter. So I went to my PCP to see if there was any treatment.
He palpated the area (which made me jump with an "Ouch), and then he said that I would have to let the bruise heal by sitting on a donut (an inflated ring, which would relieve any pressure on the tail bone area) for a while. He also suggested applying heat now and then.
He also ordered an xray. At that point, I said, “Wait a minute . . . wait a minute. If the xray reveals that there is a fracture in the tail bone, would the treatment you recommend be any different than what you’ve already suggested?” I just couldn’t imagine how something like a cast could be wrapped around my tail bone without major surgery, or even if THAT was a feasible treatment anyway. Hence the question.
He answered, “No”.
So at that point, I said, “Then why even get an xray if your treatment recommendation isn’t going to change anyway, even if the worst case scenario prevails on the xray?”
His response, “You’re right, so forget the xray. I was just trying to protect myself.”
Now I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I firmly believe I am responsible for my own health treatment, and a doctor’s word is only a recommendation and NOT gospel (sorry Mike, no offense intended.)
Now a doctor’s recommendation IS backed by years of clinical experience and training, so it usually is sound. But that doesn’t preclude REASONABLE questions by the patient (though I’m sure doctors are sick of hearing, “I heard on the Internet that blah, blah, blah . . .”)
So my conclusion was this: How many patients would have just went ahead and gotten the xray without asking a question, and hence elevated health care costs?
I place the blame not necessarily on the doctors, who are only logically reacting to reality, but on the trial lawyers who can benefit from this nonsense when a malpractice suit goes to court.
Yes, there are valid malpractice cases, but when it gets so skewed that your PCP of years has to “protect himself”, something is upside down.
I also blame patients who think that only their doctor is responsible for their health. It’s a 50/50 partnership. YOU are responsible for your healthcare too.
Now, let’s relate all this to Obamacare (so we don’t go too far off topic.) It’s valid that patients should be in the mix, with reasonable questions about your healthcare, and then the patient is ultimately responsible for the decision. But now you’re going to have a third entity in the mix . . . those bean counters and politicians. Do you think they’re going to ask reasonable questions that are intended to enhance YOUR healthcare? Do you think you’re still going to be the one that determines what YOUR health care is going to be?