Survey says: malpractice risk increases unnecessary testing

Too many doctors have to live with too much fear of malpractice persecution. That reality contributes to skyrocketing medical costs. Where can the destructive cycle be broken? Yes, “defensive medicine is more likely to be practiced when doctors perceive they are caught in a malpractice crisis.”

I once was astonished to read an article about how a very creative group had come up with an idea for intervening in the terrible recidivism cycle of crime and punishment/imprisonment. I had always wondered, how in the world can we help when so many young people have grown up with crime as their role model? These people had come up with the idea of going into prisons and engaging the prisoners in live theater–in which they could act out their anger, alienation and shame. A healthy way to begin to rid oneself of the negative effects of the sad lack of parental warmth, love and supervision with which they’d grown up.

How can we apply this idea to the spiraling health care cost crisis in the United States? When someone who lived in Singapore for 8 years comes here and says he’s had to mortgage his home to pay for the birth of his second child in a U.S. hospital–when all he had to do was write a check for the birth of the first one in Singapore–the crisis takes on very real dimensions.

Where do we start? Money-hungry, misery-chasing attorneys? (Yes, I served on a jury of my peers at a totally frivolous lawsuit some shameless attorneys had foisted on the system by advising their clients to sue for an imaginary breach of service they’d received at the Cleveland Clinic.) Do we ask doctors to expose themselves? Do we ask people to put up with terrible service?

Why don’t we have intermediaries who can help people resolve their issues fairly and equitably before they take the drastic step of calling an accident a negligence and dragging everyone down into the mud. ‘Cuz lets face it, accidents are always going to happen. Let’s all contact our government officials about setting up an ombudsman system.