More than three-fourths of neurosurgeons in the US practice some form of defensive medicine – performing additional tests and procedures – out of fear of malpractice lawsuits, a survey has revealed. Defensive medicine refers to making medical decisions based on concerns over possible malpractice lawsuits, rather than any expected benefit to the patient.
“The vast majority of US neurosurgeons participate in some form of defensive medicine,” said Timothy Smith from Northwestern University in the US. For the study, the researchers sent a questionnaire regarding defensive medicine to 3,344 neurosurgeons.
While more than 80 percent of surgeons said they had ordered imaging tests solely for defensive reasons, more than three-fourths reported ordering laboratory tests and making extra referrals for defensive purposes. Up to half said they ordered more medications and procedures out of fear of being sued. Nearly one-fourth had stopped performing brain surgery for fear of being sued. The findings appeared in the journal Neurosurgery. (IANS)