9 in 10 docs blame lawsuit fears for overtesting

side note: This article from the Associated Press discusses the results of a new survey from the American Medical Association.  The survey showed that 90% of American physicians acknowledge that fear of malpractice lawsuits leads to unnecessary testing, building on earlier results we covered several weeks ago.  The survey’s result is convincing, as the large sample was randomly selected from a population that includes most American physicians and the response rate was around 50%, quite high for a survey of such a large population.  These new results strengthen the AMA’s call for tort reform.  Limits on noneconomic awards must be established to eliminate the economic waste being caused by defensive medicine.

by Lindsey Tanner
Associated Press

CHICAGO — Ninety percent of physicians surveyed said doctors overtest and overtreat to protect themselves from malpractice lawsuits.

That sentiment is more common among male doctors than female doctors, according to the survey published Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine. The findings echo a recent Associated Press story in which many emergency room doctors said lawsuit fears are the main reason for overtreating in the ER.

The Archives survey of 1,231 physicians nationwide included ER doctors and other specialists, surgeons and primary care doctors.

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