Any medical treatment has its risks. The Institute of Medicine estimates that up to 98,000 people die each year as a result of preventable medical errors. Among these errors are misdiagnosis, errors in performance during operations, inappropriate dosage to treat illness, equipment failure, and others. Unnecessary interventions can actually do more harm than good. Your risk for harm increases each time you undergo a medical treatment. Here is partial list of the most common procedures that doctors tend to over-perform.
Cataracts cause a clouding that reduces visual acuity. Unless the cataract hinders your daily activities, an operation may not be necessary. You might benefit from the surgery if the cataract reduces your visual acuity to 20/50 even with glasses. If you suspect you have cataracts, you may want to avoid having your initial evaluation performed by an ophthalmologist whose practice consists mainly of cataract surgery
Surgery for low back pain is rarely justified in the early stages. Even pain caused by a herniated disk—the most common cause of persistent low-back pain—resolves on its own within a year. Other types of back pain can be controlled with therapy and medication. Overall surgery provides back pain relief for 85 to 90 percent of patients. For some, the relief lasts temporarily.
Only 10 percent of Americans have gallstones. Yet, the increasing number of Laparoscopy procedures done each year suggests that some doctors use the surgery to prevent severe gallbladder attacks. While Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive approach, a doctor can accidentally severe the bile duct during the procedure and permanently damage your liver. Statistics show that this happens in nearly 2 percent of laparoscopies—three times more often than in open surgery.
One of every three women has her uterus removed. About 16 percent of hysterectomies are deemed not justified and that the symptoms can be resolved using another course of treatment. A hysterectomy leaves scar tissue that eventually can cause intestinal obstruction. Furthermore, the loss of estrogen can trigger premature menopausal symptoms thereby increasing the risk of coronary disease and osteoporosis for some women.
To avoid undergoing unnecessary medical procedures, be sure to ask your doctor these questions:
- If I decline or postpone surgery will my condition worsen or possibly improve?
- What nonsurgical or less intrusive procedures are available?
- What are the chances of failure or complications of the surgery?
If you are seriously injured due to inferior health care or you’ve lost a loved one because of a health care provider’s mistakes, contact a skilled attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath to represent you. Our firm represents victims throughout Florida and nationwide.
If you have any questions on this blog or need information on other personal injury queries, please call the Law offices of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath located in West Palm Beach at 1-800 4-RIGHTS (1-800- 474-4487) We welcome your call and look forward to helping you.