Report: thousands duped into surgeries they do not need each year

According to a recent report, many surgeries conducted each year are medically unjustified.

When you consult with your physician, you often assume that every recommendation made is necessary to treat your condition. However, according to a recent report from USA Today, this is not always the case. The report concluded that many thousands of people in the United States each year are talked into having surgeries that are not necessary.

For the report, researchers looked at data from the National Practitioner Data Bank and government records. The data indicated that unnecessary surgeries do not affect all medical specialties equally. In some specialties, unnecessary surgeries comprised 20 percent of all surgeries; in others, the number was much lower.

The researchers found that there were two main reasons why unnecessary surgeries occurred. The first reason was financial gain. In these cases, the physician attempted to defraud insurance companies or the federal government (i.e. Medicaid or Medicare) by recommending unnecessary procedures to their patients.

The other reason why physicians encouraged unnecessary surgical procedures-medical malpractice. Under this scenario, the physician did not have the training, expertise or competence to determine when a surgical procedure is best avoided-either because the patient's condition does not warrant surgery or because there are more effective or safer non-surgical alternatives.

Because of these medically unjustified surgical procedures, over 1,000 physicians in the United States have paid settlements to victims since 2005, the report found. However, since this number only includes the persons that discovered the mistake and opted to sue their physicians, the number is probably much higher. According to the report, it is estimated that tens of thousands of people are talked into unneeded surgeries each year.

An attorney can help

As alluded to earlier, the report found that some types of surgeries are more prone to be unnecessary. According to the report, the types of surgeries that are most likely to be extraneous include angioplasties, cardiac stents, knee or hip replacements, back surgeries, cesarean sections, pacemaker implants and hysterectomies.

When patients undergo unnecessary surgeries, they are needlessly exposed to the risks that all surgeries have, such as infections, blood clots and pain. Of course, there is always the more serious risk of a surgical error being made during the procedure, which could have life-long repercussions or even cause death.

Due to this danger, before undergoing any surgical procedure, patients are advised to explore all options, including non-surgical or less invasive alternatives. In many cases, getting a second opinion can be especially effective in revealing whether the proposed surgical procedure is truly needed.

If you are the victim of a mistake during surgery or suspect that the procedure was unnecessary, you may have the right to seek compensation under the law. The Law Offices of Salazar, Sullivan & Jasionowski can listen to your situation and advise you further on your legal rights and remedies.