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What is defensive medicine?

Patients in Connecticut who go in for medical care may turn out to be victims of defensive medicine. This is a practice many healthcare practitioners use to protect themselves from getting sued. Fearful of missing something, they over-order tests and procedures that are completely unnecessary which is bad for the patients, physicians and healthcare costs.

According to Forbes, defensive medicine is very common, with almost three-quarters of physicians practicing it. Along with avoiding lawsuits, some of the reasons doctors are ordering unnecessary tests and medications are because they are overworked or are unfamiliar with the patients and their backgrounds.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, defensive medicine can be negative for the patient in a number of ways. A less harmful negative is it results in a bunch of unnecessary tests and hospitalization stays that take up the patient's time and money. More serious consequences include invasive procedures that pose a risk to the patient, or a complete avoidance of risky procedures that would actually benefit the patient. 

In regard to physicians themselves, although defensive medicine may decrease their chances of being sued for medical negligence, practicing this way can corrupt their relationships with their patients. Ruined physician reputations can lead to depression, anxiety and personality or behavior changes. Ordering too many tests or prescribing excess medication can also lower the quality of medical care, which decreases confidence by patients. 

Higher healthcare costs are another consequence of defensive medicine. This includes higher insurance rates as well as out-of-pocket expenses. 

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