Our health care system is much sicker than even Michael Moore understands. Greedy physicians addicted to money are literally abusing and battering patients for the sake of profit.
Physicians and mass media often depict patients and their lawyers who file lawsuits against Doctors as greedy, money-grubbing opportunist. 1
It turns out this is more projection than reality. A 1990 study by Harvard researchers of 31,000 medical records subjected to evaluation by practicing doctors and nurses, “found that doctors were injuring one out of every 25 patients (latter studies put that figure closer to one out of every seven patients), and that only 4 percent of these injured patients sued.” 2
Another Harvard study of 1,452 malpractice lawsuits found that more than 90 percent of the claims evidence supported medical injury and 25 percent of the time the patient died, 60% of these injuries resulted from physician wrongdoing. The study also found when “baseless” malpractice suits were brought they were “efficiently thrown out.” Only 145 of 515 patients suffering injury, but where physician fault was unclear received compensation. On the other hand, 236 cases were thrown out of court despite evidence of injury and physician error. 3.
While there is no evidence that malpractice claims are being driven by greedy patients and lawyers, there is an abundance of evidence that greed is driving the malpractice suits. Not the greed of the patients, but the greed of the medical practitioners themselves. In other words, physicians are the greedy, money-grubbing opportunists, and the patients and their lawyers are just fighting back against an arrogant disregard for patient’s rights, dignity, and health, against incompetence and even fraud. In a real way, a vast body of Doctors have waged war on patients, arrogantly imposing their will and their interest against the patients’ will and best interest. Laws, Medical Licensing Boards, even lawsuits have largely failed to discourage profitable, but reckless and abusive practices. Below are a several examples of how Physicians abuse patients for personal profit, a brief analysis of patient protections, followed by some suggestions for fighting back.
1. Kickback driven medicine: An overwhelming number of physicians get kickbacks and other economic incentives from pharmaceutical companies, not only for being willing to prescribe a drug, or implant a devise, but also for research. Often, physicians also get kickbacks from other Physicians, hospitals, and imaging facilities to which they refer patients. Physicians even get kickbacks for implant devises. Influenced by a greed for these kickbacks, many physicians prescribe medications and procedures they know are NOT the most effective response to a problem, or may even be for a problem you do not have. 4.
In one study one third of the Doctors interviewed, “admitted they would order unnecessary MRI scans and 25% referred patients to an imaging center where they had a financial interest.” 20.
2. Promoting unnecessary surgeries: Physicians often fail to tell a patient of less radical alternatives, fail to disclose and even mislead patients about risks, and encourage a patient to elect surgeries that are not good for their health. “While it is difficult to distinguish “necessary” from “unnecessary” surgeries, some estimates put the latter at 2.5 million a year, resulting in 11,600 deaths a year as well as severe pain and disability for many of the survivors.” 5.
Breast implants are just one example. Implants are never permanent. Most will require another surgery within five years, virtually 100% fail within 10 years. 6.
Reconstruction after a mastectomy requires multiple surgeries (including one on the healthy breast), and thus provides a whole string of opportunities for surgeons to make big bucks. For women with cancer this is particularly cruel even murderous as evidence indicates that physical trauma the like of multiple surgeries can encourage the spread of cancer. 7.
Surgeons virtually never reveal this trauma induced cancer growth risk. Even women’s magazines have described new “perky” breasts, and perhaps even a tummy tuck, as a couple among ten reasons to “be glad you have breast cancer.” 8.
While plastic surgeons claim options for such reconstruction are, “essential to women’s self-esteem“, there are less dangerous roads to dealing with self-esteem issues, patients are not well informed of risks, and surgeons literally peddle reconstruction. The only unsolicited call I ever remember receiving from my breast cancer surgeon was to inquire as to why I would turn down reconstruction. (Wonder if she was to get a kickback from the plastic surgeon, who acted as if he got kickbacks for implants.)
3. Bait and switch: You do a little research, meet and agree to a surgery by a certain physician, chosen for various reasons, experience, sex, bedside manor, temperament; then, once under anesthesia, your surgeon pulls a bait and switch. The person actually performing the surgery is much less experienced, or this may even be their first surgery, or first surgery of this type. Sometimes the surgeon you thought was performing is in attendance supervising. Your life threatening surgery is being used as training and you are an unwitting breathing cadaver. 9
Other times the person you thought was performing the surgery has moved on to a high paying client and left you with a resident under no supervision. The surgeon you thought was performing is paid for miraculously doing two surgeries at once in two different locations. 10 The resident is on salary.
Once limited to teaching hospitals this sort of medical fraud is now infiltrating private practices. While you are never told, while misleading language is used, while students are hidden, and even while out right lies are employed to cover this bait and switch, physicians argue that any reasonable person should know that in teaching facilities students are participating in their care, including the performance of major life threatening surgeries. Patients may or may not know a hospital is a teaching hospital; and the average patient does not know their physician will lie; we are not told the relationship is an adversarial one, rather than fiduciary (one where the physician’s primary concern is our health).