A USA TODAY study found that tens of thousands of times each year unnecessary surgeries are performed. Thousands of people each year fall victim to the wrong doctor, one that lacks the knowledge or competence to consider alternatives to surgery, or one who takes advantage of medical insurers by billing operations that were not necessary, enriching themselves in the process as well as altering the lives of the patients.
Unnecessary surgeries account for 10-20% of operations each year in many specialty fields, including “cardiac procedures… spinal surgeries, knee replacements, hysterectomies, and cesarean sections.” Strikingly, these surgeries are “performed more often than needed.”
These needless procedures can be detrimental to the patient’s health and lifestyle. There are thousands of people living with unnecessary pacemakers, hardware such as screws and plates, and missing organs like gallbladders and appendices. Some of these procedures can lead to a life with chronic pain, and even end a career. It is always beneficial to consider a second opinion before having an operation.
According to the U.S. government’s National Practitioner Data Bank which tracks lawsuits on physicians, more than 1,000 doctors since 2005 have paid settlements for malpractice claims in cases involving “allegations of unnecessary or inappropriate procedures.”
Not only do these unnecessary operations affect the patients, but they are also greatly costly to the taxpayer. Medical insurers drain healthcare dollars on these operations, when they could be put to a much better use.