Is Too Much Treatment Contributing to Doctor Errors?

With the amount of medical advancement these days, there seems to be a treatment for everything. Patients have almost been trained to go to the doctor for every little sniffle, sneeze or unusual feeling. While this helps to catch possible illnesses early, is too much treatment dangerous?

Some doctors have weighed in on the issue, arguing that it is the job of the doctor — trained in the field — to know when to say when. The more treatment, the more doctor errors are committed say experts. In fact, a report by the Institute of Medicine published in 1999 showed that on average 98,000 people across the nation were dying as a result of a medical mistake.

Experts have said that reporting on the current statistics is more difficult because there is not a cohesive reporting structure from state to state, but they have weighed in and say that reasonable estimates put that number closer to 200,000 per year in the current era.

Why are the mistakes continuing to increase even though more and more medical advancements are made? Many experts say that it is simply the overuse of medicine. Some doctors are so quick to write a prescription, that often it is not the right one or the right amount. More prescriptions means more risk for allergic reaction or even accidental overdose by the patient.

Some doctors say that the simple fact that more tests and procedures are being conducted every day means that there is a much higher chance for mistake, infection, false positives and many other errors. But how is the patient supposed to know when something is necessary or not?

Source: CNN, “More is not always better in medicine,” Sanjay Gupta, July 31, 2012

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