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Doctors are now practising what's known as "defensive medicine" in a drive to prevent malpractice allegations. Defensive medicine refers to doctors ordering excessive tests, referring to specialists unnecessarily and discontinuing procedures to reduce their likelihood of facing legal retribution. This is not in the patient's interest, nor is it in the doctors; where the current litigious climate is affecting the therapeutic relationship and personal lives of both parties. The specialities at most risk of legal involvement include obstetrics, gynaecology, general surgery, orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, emergency medicine, and radiology. The belief is that doctors can no longer work effectively in a world were medical errors do happen, and where they can learn from them for fear of litigation. It is a doubled edged sword with patient safety being compromised by lack of malpractice representation on one hand and over representation on the other with fear driving both and patient safety ultimately being compromised.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Web MD Medical News
About: New 'type' of medicine harming patients.
Date: 31 May 2005
Source: Web MD Medical News
Author: Daniel DeNoon
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