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Wednesday, June 1st 2005

Defensive Medicine

Defensive medicine is the idea that fear of litigation causes some physicians to perform more tests and grab more images than are necessary, because of fear of missing some costly condition or injury which may later lead to a large med mal lawsuit.

For years, the debate was over whether this was an actual cost of physician fear of litigation. If it is, then clearly such costs must be tacked onto the already large bill the AMA and other physician groups claim that medical malpractice lawyers and their lawsuits have already rung up.

A new study published in JAMA has drawn a lot of attention over the past few days for its contribution to the debate: an overwhelming percentage of Pennsylvania doctors practice defensive medicine for fear of being sued.