Physicians have both a legal and ethical duty to provide their patients with the proper and necessary care for their specific circumstances. Proper care includes the duty to only perform surgical procedures that are in the best interest of the patient and refrain from performing unnecessary procedures, regardless if injuries proceed. Medical professionals hold the crucial responsibility of determining the appropriate treatment for their patients. Unfortunately, the phenomenon of over treatment has emerged as a significant concern in the medical community. The primary reason physicians choose to over treat is personal financial benefit.
Recently, a Michigan vascular doctor accused of over treating his patients was sanctioned for violating his general duty to exercise due care. The Disciplinary Subcommittee of the Board of Medicine found that for at least eight of his patients, the doctor performed vascular procedures where they were not warranted. These patients suffered serious injuries including the loss of limbs, additional procedures, permanent damage, and unnecessary pain. Michigan vascular doctor accused of excessive procedures. As a result, the doctor was ordered to take medical education courses and subjected to a $25,000 fine.
Over treatment of patients can indeed be considered a form of medical malpractice, threatening patient safety and undermining trust in the healthcare system. This recent case serves as a reminder to patients that doing some of your own research and obtaining a second opinion is a good idea, especially when a surgical procedure is being offered.