Do Doctors Make Money Off Improper Treatment?

If you have been injured by a doctor or the care you have received doesn’t feel appropriate, your medical team may have made a mistake. There is no doubt that the vast majority of doctors have the best interests of their patients at the forefront of their minds. That said, there are many people decrying the current condition of our American medical system and medical financial incentives because Americans spend more money on healthcare than the residents of any other country and yet we have worsening health. 

Americans are estimated to spend over $200 billion on unnecessary medications, medical tests, therapies, and medical procedures. Much of this medical waste is due to over-prescribing pharmaceuticals or not choosing the least expensive, least invasive treatment option. Other medical waste is due to improper treatment, mistakes, or even flat-out fraud. Regardless of the reason, many of these events could be considered medical malpractice.

Improper treatment: medical mistakes and excessive medical care

Some doctors order extra tests or procedures “just in case.” An example might be recommending an MRI if blood tests come back slightly abnormal, just in case there is a benign growth in the brain causing hormone problems when no other symptoms would suggest this issue. Such a suggestion would frighten most patients into an expensive procedure when a change of diet or lifestyle might be a better first step.

Other times, a doctor may misdiagnose or improperly treat you, causing you to continue to return for more office visits, different medications, or different procedures, which can be financially lucrative for the doctor.

Some doctors may even purposely maintain a high frequency of office visits and procedures in order to improve their careers, move into high-ranking practices and hospitals, and be seen as leaders in their field.

Over-medicating and choosing expensive name-brand pharmaceuticals over generics is a serious problem in American medicine. Pharmaceutical companies pay billions of dollars to physicians, primarily through meals and speaking fees, to encourage the prescribing of their drugs. Apparently, it works. A 2016 ProPublica study examined 50 drugs and found that for 46 of them, doctors who received financial incentives prescribed those drugs 45% to 141% more often than doctors who did not receive any financial benefit. 

Some doctors are guilty of even more egregious behavior: For instance, in 2011, a cardiologist in Maryland went to prison for placing unnecessary cardiac stents in and performing unnecessary cardiac catheterizations on over 100 patients. In 2022, the medical director of two Florida “sober homes” lured patients into the hospitals for unnecessary detox programs and also billed insurers for excessive, medically unnecessary tests that were never used in treatment.

Mismanagement of women’s healthcare is a serious problem. From breast implants to birth control devices to gynecological services, women are frequent victims of defective medical devices and unnecessary or ineffective medical procedures that cause ongoing pain, suffering, and financial loss.

Medical malpractice

You are not helpless and you can fight back. If you believe your doctor or medical professionals have shown negligence, whether intentional or unintentional, and you have been injured by that negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. As a Florida personal injury lawyer, I am committed to helping Florida residents throughout the state receive just and fair compensation to help them cope with the injuries they have sustained through someone else’s negligence. 

In a medical malpractice case, you need to show that the medical practitioner has been negligent by demonstrating “the 4 D’s” – duty, dereliction, direct cause, and damages. These are defined as:

  • Duty: The medical provider had the duty to provide care, which is to say that there is an established patient-doctor relationship, not just a casual remark from a medical professional you happen to know
  • Dereliction of that duty: The physician or medical provider failed to follow standards of acceptable medical practice, such that another competent and prudent medical provider would follow
  • Direct or proximate cause: The injury can be directly or closely connected to the medical negligence
  • Damages: There is clear injury for which patients can seek compensation 

If you think you have been the victim of improper treatment, contact me from anywhere in Florida at (954) 448-7288, 24/7 for a free consultation. I leave no stone unturned to help my clients receive the compensation they deserve.

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