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Good Doctors Can Be Bad For Your Health

November 22, 2015

A recent study[1] had some shocking results: people with heart attacks did better when the senior cardiologists were out of town. It was not a small difference either – patients were actually one third less likely to die when the top doctors were away from the hospital.

During a national cardiology meeting which is attended by thousands of the top and most famous doctors in the country, it would seem that their patients “back home” would be more likely to die while the famous doctors were out of town, not less likely to die.

While the reason is not clear, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, writing for the New York Times[2] offered two possible explanations:

  • The senior doctors may be great researchers but the junior doctors covering the shifts while the big dogs are away, are more recently out of training and therefore may be better at clinical care.
  • The senior doctors try more interventions.

It is this second reason that is worth examining from a medical malpractice perspective. Many patients and physicians think more treatment means better treatment but every test and treatment can go wrong.

How do you protect yourself? If a doctor is proposing an intervention (an x-ray, blood test, surgery, etc.) ask these questions:

  1. What difference will it make?
  2. How much improvement is the treatment actually going to make?
  3. How likely and severe are the side effects?

Studies show that when patients are given information about the benefits and risks of interventions, they tend to consent to fewer less necessary interventions, therefore decreasing the chance that something can go wrong.

Military Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If any medical intervention at a military hospital went wrong and you were injured or a family member was killed, our military medical malpractice law firm has the skill and experience to get you the justice you deserve. To encourage injured parties to learn more about their legal rights, our law firm provides free initial consultations and availability 24 hours a day seven days a week.

We never charge any fees unless we are able to secure compensation for you. Please call us toll-free at 1-877-695-8757 24 hours a day seven days a week. You may also email us using the online form at the upper right-hand side of the screen.

 

Sources:

[1] Mortality and Treatment Patterns Among Patients Hospitalized With Acute Cardiovascular Conditions During Dates of National Cardiology Meetings Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD1,2,3; Vinay Prasad, MD4; Dana P. Goldman, PhD3,5,6; John Romley, PhD, JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(2):237-244. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6781.

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/opinion/sunday/are-good-doctors-bad-for-your-health

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