Defensive Medicine Medical Definition

What is Defensive Medicine?” 

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  • Defensive Medicine
Defensive Medicine Medical Definition

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Defensive Medicine Medical definition: Defensive medicine refers to any medical practice, procedure, or treatment that a doctor or healthcare professional undertakes that seeks to avoid and/or minimize the chances of a medical malpractice lawsuit and not to serve the best interests of the patient. Some examples of defensive medicine include:

  • Ordering unnecessary tests
  • Prescribing medication at higher doses or for longer periods than necessary
  • Over-treating patients with antibiotics
  • Avoiding high-risk patients
  • Performing unnecessary procedures/or not performing potentially risky but beneficial procedures

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Defensive Medicine in Medical Malpractice Cases

Defensive medicine results in billions of wasted dollars every year, a price that eventually trickles down to the patient making medical costs higher than need be. When a healthcare professional bases a decision not on what is best for the patient, but on what will give him or her the least exposure to liability, the professional is practicing defensive medicine. 

Ultimately, practicing defensive medicine is not good for patients or physicians. The adverse effects of defensive medicine are not limited to the increased cost of healthcare, but also affect the overall quality of the healthcare system.

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