Experienced Attorneys Pursuing Lawsuits for Unnecessary Medical Tests in Kentucky
You trust in your doctor. You also trust in the medical tests that the doctor orders and relies upon as a diagnostic tool. But, what if you suspect that your doctor is ordering too many diagnostic imaging scans – such as x-rays, MRIs, or even CT scans? Is that considered negligence? Or, is your physician just acting out of a preponderance of caution?
Doctors will rely on diagnostic tests even at times when they shouldn’t. Sometimes, they know that they do not need to order such tests, but they will do so in order to avoid any potential lawsuits. This reaction, however, leaves a patient with an astounding medical bill – and that can be even more devastating when it comes to light that the tests weren’t even medically necessary.
According to a survey that was published in 2011 by Dartmouth College, and published in a Consumer Reports article in 2012, it was found that 30 percent of the health care in the country is medically unnecessary.
Assessing the Use of Unnecessary Medical Tests
It is not just the costs that put a patient in danger when unnecessary tests are ordered. In fact, it is the exposure to radiation and other harmful chemicals – and some that patients may not even realize they are exposing themselves to when they consent. Here are just some examples of over-ordered tests (and their associated risks):
- EKGs and Stress Tests – This test is used to measure the heart’s electrical activity. It is part of a standard exam and may be used as a follow up. These tests, however, are extremely inaccurate and often lead to other follow-up tests, such as a CT angiogram. This exposes you to radiation equal to 600 or 800 x-rays.
- Imaging for Lower Back Pain – When you suffer from back pain, it only makes sense to receive some sort of imaging test, but sometimes, doctors will use multiple tests to arrive at a diagnosis that just one test could have concluded. Constant exposure, especially in the lower back area, can expose a woman’s ovaries and a man’s testicles to unnecessary radiation.
- CTs and MRI Scans – These scans are used to determine everything from back pain to headaches to stomach pain and more. While they are often necessary in emergency situations, sometimes, they are ordered together to come to a diagnosis that another tool could have done. Brain scans, for example, can reveal things that seem worrisome, but aren’t. That will then prompt further unnecessary testing. CT scans also deliver a dose of radiation to the body that is equivalent of 15 to 300 chest x-rays.
- Bone Density Scans – These are used on women to determine if they have weak bones. It may even determine if a woman suffers from osteoporosis. While helpful, a woman may be misdiagnosed with osteopenia, which then leads to a treatment using alendronate – which carries significant risks on its own.
Can I Sue for Unnecessary Medical Imaging?
It may be difficult to actually determine if a physician’s use of imaging was unnecessary and irresponsible. After all, a physician could argue that he or she was doing due diligence by ruling out other potential factors. Then again, if a person is injured because of these unnecessary tests and other medical professionals agree that the tests were unnecessary, the patient would have a claim for malpractice. Also, if those tests revealed a condition that was misdiagnosed and the patient suffered as a result, the victim would have a case for malpractice, too.
To understand your options when you suspect that you have been subjected to unnecessary diagnostic testing, speak with an attorney. Contact the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation, or request your appointment online.