Doctors perform thousands of unnecessary surgeries on US patients
I need to comment on this piece of news I read the other day. Even though this was published a few years ago, the message still rings true to this day and in the context of what cancer patients have to go through in terms of “getting the right kind of cancer treatment advice from the right kind of doctor”.
Basically the news reports about tens of thousands of unnecessary surgeries were performed on hapless, unsuspecting US-based patients for years by malpracticing doctors. These medical malpractices were discovered on a review of government records and medical databases, showing that at least 10%-20% of all surgeries in all specialties were unnecessary.
The cases ranged from a wide variety of cardiac procedures, not just stents but also more complicated ones like pacemaker implants and angioplasty, hysterectomies, colonoscopies, total knee and hip replacements, back surgeries and spinal fusions, etc.
Since 2005, about 1,000 doctors have already settled or closed malpractice claims with the same kind of unscrupulous, unnecessary surgeries according to a US newspaper’s analysis of the US Government’s National Practitioner Data Bank. US doctors say there is only a small percentage – about 1%-2% — who are really crooks and do medical malpractice. The rest would be doctors who are medically incompetent or not well-trained which is just as damaging. And the third type of doctor is the “businessman in doctor’s clothes” who are just in it for your money.
Always ask for a second opinion.
As the newspaper report says, victims of medical malpractices sometimes suffer greatly for that one decision that could alter the course of their entire lives. But when your life can change forever, wouldn’t it be rational to secure at least a second opinion from an authoritative, world-class doctor with a proven track record of successful treatments and cures?
And you have to ask questions – always! Ask questions about the procedure, ask questions about the mortality rate. When you are proposed a certain cancer procedure, research what others have to say about that procedure and even that doctor. And ask yourself, “What will happen to me or what will I miss if I don’t go through this procedure?”
Only then can you make what we believe is an “informed decision” that would govern the rest of your life after treatment.