Unfortunately, medical over-treatment is a reality across the United States. While over-treatment may seem harmless, the reality is that it can cause injury or lead to making your illness worse. Many physicians believe that over-treatment can be caused by a medical professional’s own financial motives, the fear of malpractice lawsuits, or both. If you have suffered an injury that you believe was caused by medical over-treatment, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can help you determine your legal options to pursue compensation.
According to a recent study, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other high tech scans for low back pain shot up by 50 percent between 1995 to 2015. Up to 35 percent of MRI scans for lower back pain were inappropriate. While medical societies have launched campaigns to convince doctors and patients to forego the unnecessary images, it has not improved the situation. Unnecessary imaging is not just limited to lower back pain. Americans spend in excess of $100 billion on different types of diagnostic imaging every year, much of which is unnecessary and, in some case, can be harmful. For instance, even though X-rays are relatively cheap, they can increase the risk of cancer. According to doctors, another issue is that MRIs can provide too much information that is not related to the back pain, which can lead to confusion and surgery for benign abnormalities.
Over-treatment can take a serious toll on a patient. In addition to the expenses, patients may be subjected to risks like radiation, dangerous side effects and a number of other risks that are inherent with many intensive and invasive treatments and procedures. A doctor has a duty to treat you with the appropriate standard of care, which is the same level of care and caution that another doctor confronted with the same situation would exercise. If you are over-treated and this treatment results in harm, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault doctor if you can establish that the doctor violated the appropriate standard of care. In short, medical malpractice occurs when the doctor’s breach of the standard of care is a direct cause of patient injury.