Physicians rightfully worry about making mistakes when caring for patients. An error or omission could lead to someone under a doctor’s care suffering unnecessary harm. The physician could then face a civil malpractice lawsuit in a New Jersey courtroom. Sometimes, concerns over malpractice claims might lead a doctor to perform unnecessary medical care, which opens doors for other potential troubles.
The overtreatment of patients
The journal PloS One surveyed several physicians, and the respondents believed that 20% of medical treatments in the United States are entirely unnecessary. The treatment included medical tests, procedures and the writing of prescription medications. Although fear of malpractice claims might drive some doctors to engage in such behaviors, those performing unnecessary treatments could certainly false a civil lawsuit if a patient suffers harm.
Doctors who knowingly request medical tests and perform procedures unnecessarily may face criminal charges. Billing insurance companies for care that is unnecessary may fall under fraud statutes. Criminal complaints could come on top of civil lawsuits by injured patients.
Malpractice claims for unnecessary procedures
The mere fact that a doctor ordered medical treatments that a patient did not need could support a victim’s medical malpractice claim. Prescribing a patient painkillers, such as oxycontin, might lead to addictions or other adverse reactions. If an investigation reveals the doctor lacked a legitimate reason for prescribing a controlled substance, expect the doctor to face a civil lawsuit. Also, a patient could suffer complications from an unnecessary procedure. The aftermath may involve a malpractice claim.
A civil lawsuit could seek monetary compensation for a wide range of losses. The lawsuit might seek punitive damages in certain situations. Medical malpractice insurance typically covers compensatory damages, but pursuing punitive damages may require a civil lawsuit.