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Avoiding medical malpractice due to overtreatment

While medical malpractice cases in Ohio are generally the result of a doctor, nurse or hospital's negligence in failing to do something, there can also be instances in which a doctor errors because they do too much. Ohio residents' awareness of overtreatment seems to be increasing.

While it is true that there can be appropriate situations for all treatments, it is also true that doctors are given financial incentive to over treat patients. This type of behavior can potentially be injurious to patients. However there are things that a patient can do and questions that they can ask to detect such practices.

The first question to raise is what happens if we don't do anything? For example, if you come with a cold and a doctor tells you that you have a cold and then offers you an antibiotic, question their reasoning behind doing so and ask what will happen if you choose not to take the medication. If they give you a wishy-washy answer, this may be an indication of overtreatment.

Another key question to ask is what are my options? With such a question, a doctor may be upfront and tell you that you have the option to do nothing. Probe further on such a response to find out what happens if you do nothing.

As previously stated, patients really need to be their own advocate in their health. It is important to ask these questions and take control of your visits to avoid injurious consequences.

Source: Times Union, "5 questions you should ask to avoid overtreatment," McClatchy, May 4, 2012

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