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Doctors cite overused procedures as costly and harmful

Ohio and Kentucky residents may have heard that a group of medical experts reported that almost 100 common procedures are overused and may be unnecessary. In some cases, these procedures can even be harmful and may lead to hospital errors or other complications that cause danger for patients. CT scans for head injuries, early C-sections and Pap smears are on the list of overused and possibly dangerous procedures and treatments.

The list was compiled under the organization of the American Board of Internal Medicine and includes such prestigious groups as the American Academy of Neurology. Doctors are very concerned about the overuse of the identified procedures and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. The United States currently spends over $2.5 trillion per year, or more than $8,000 per patient, on health care. This figure is 2.5 times the amount spent by other western nations. Part of this discrepancy is price-oriented, as American hospitals and doctors simply charge more than those in other countries. However, American doctors also order more tests and authorize far more elective procedures than their colleagues in other nations.

While the United States has very high rates of cancer survival and other benefits to show for this spending, in some areas, America lags in treating certain disease. Asthma, bronchitis and emphysema treatments continue to have poorer outcomes in the U.S. despite higher spending. Experts estimate that the American healthcare system wastes up to $750 billion per year and that some procedures, such as early C-sections, may be harmful to patients.

Patients who have suffered from unnecessary or dangerous medical procedures may wish to consult a medical malpractice attorney. Patients may be entitled to collect compensation for injuries resulting from unnecessary or ineffective medical treatment.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Doctors list overused medical treatments," Noam N. Levey, Feb. 20, 2013

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