A study conducted by Duke University revealed that out of 112,000 recipients of implanted defibrillators, 22 percent were “less than ideal” candidates to receive them. Why would medical professionals implant a device into a patient that could be potentially more harmful than beneficial? It may be because the doctors are still relying on outdated information, did not follow guidelines or, in worst cases, driven by greed. When given the fact that Medicare pays $50,000 for each procedure, the highest of any medical device implantation, money may be, in many cases, the motivating factor.
A report published by Eyewitness News in Chicago in October of 2014, revealed that three Northwest Indiana cardiologists, along with Munster Community Hospital, were sued by dozens of patients for performing unnecessary surgeries including the implantation of defibrillators and pacemakers. One alleged surgery resulted in the death of a 33 year old man on his way home after receiving a pacemaker that was not needed.
Unnecessary Surgery is Very Common in the U.S.
Every year, nearly 50 million surgeries are performed in the United States, many of which are live saving or improve the quality of life. However it is estimated that as many as 50 percent of these procedures were unnecessary. In cases of unnecessary medical testing those numbers are much higher. The result is wasted money, especially from Medicare and needless harm to patients.
Of all the surgeries performed in the US, those that are most often needless are defibrillator and pacemaker implants, coronary bypass surgery, hysterectomy, caesarian section, and surgery for common gastric issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and heartburn. Unnecessary medical testing, although costly, is generally not a great risk to health as surgery, but very common.
Are All Unnecessary Surgeries Negligence?
A surgical procedure that was unnecessary does not in itself indicate negligence. If there was a legitimate, medical based concern derived from evidence, negligence was probably not involved, even if the procedure proved afterward to be unnecessary. If non-surgical options are available and a doctor opts for surgery without considering those options, the doctor may be negligent. A misdiagnoses followed by unnecessary surgery may also be considered negligent, if other doctors would not have erred under the same circumstances. A third party expert is often consulted to determine if a doctor made the wrong decision by recommending surgery.
Prior to the performance of any surgery, a patient must be informed of the risks of the procedure and also the risks of not having the surgery performed. Failure to inform the patient of potential risks may be considered negligence as well as if the patient felt pressured to consent.
If a surgeon causes harm by making a mistake during surgery, whether necessary or not, the doctor may be found to be negligent.
The Medical Malpractice Attorney’s Role
Proving negligence in a medical malpractice case is complicated and difficult. Every case presents its own unique set of facts. What is outlined here is only a brief synopsis. If you feel you received unnecessary surgery you should contact a medical malpractice attorney who will investigate and sort out the facts of your case. You may be entitled to monetary compensation but each case is different. An experienced malpractice lawyer can best determine the true value of your case.
Dolman Law Group is a personal injury law firm with experience in cases of unnecessary surgery. Call today for a free, confidential evaluation of your case.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652