Studies Highlight Unnecessary Surgeries

Jacky Gale | September 19th, 2013

New York Malpractice Attorneys

New York malpractice attorneys review all manner of medical negligence complaints, from birth injuries to defective medical devices and dangerous drugs. Failure of a healthcare professional to administer needed treatments is another common complaint. However, sometimes a lawsuit is filed because a doctor or other healthcare provider performed a medically unnecessary procedure.

Clinical data evaluated by USA Today revealed that many patients are indeed told that they require surgeries when they do not. These unnecessary surgeries force the patients to endure surgical pain, a long recovery period, and medical expenses. They also place patients at risk of complications from the procedures, such as adverse reactions to anesthesia, bleeding and infections. The following are listed as the six most common surgeries performed unnecessarily.

Joint replacement surgeries

Joint replacement surgeries are often recommended for patients who have suffered extensive damage to the joints, such as the knees and hips. This damage is often caused by arthritis and it can greatly interfere with a person’s mobility. However, joint replacement surgeries aren’t necessary for every patient who has arthritis.

In a study published in Health Affairs in 2012, researchers evaluated the responses of patients in Washington State to various informational materials. The study participants reviewed information about joint replacement surgeries and considered alternative treatments to surgery. According to the results of the study, patients who were fully informed received 38 percent fewer knee replacements and 26 percent fewer hip replacements.

Cesarean sections

Another Health Affairs study published in 2013 evaluated data from 593 hospitals across the country. The researchers discovered that the rate of Cesarean sections varied considerably among the different hospitals, with some reporting a 7.1 percent rate and others reporting a 69.9 percent rate. The researchers proposed that “Vast differences in practice patterns are likely to be driving the costly overuse of Cesarean delivery in many U.S. hospitals.” In other words, the protocols of the individual hospital holds more sway over the decision to perform a C-section than the mother’s medical condition or preferences.

Hysterectomies

Unnecessary hysterectomies represent another form of surgical negligence in NY and elsewhere. In one study, researchers evaluated 497 women who underwent hysterectomies and found that about 70 percent did not need them. It was found that in these cases, the women’s doctors did not explore more conservative treatments.

Back surgeries

Lower back pain is among the most common medical complaints. Yet in many cases, conservative treatments are all that is needed to restore a patient to health. A 2011 study found that of 274 patients, over 17 percent did not have any abnormal findings in their medical records.

Angioplasties and stenting

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2011 determined that 12 percent of all angioplasty procedures that did not stem from acute heart attack symptoms were likely unnecessary. This is particularly significant considering that the procedure itself poses the risk of a heart attack.

Cardiac pacemakers

Pacemakers are sometimes recommended for patients with irregular heartbeats. However, a 2011 study found that 22.5 percent out of 112,000 patients with a pacemaker did not necessarily need them.

How New York malpractice attorneys can help

New Yorkers who believe they may have been the victim of any form of medical negligence, including unnecessary surgery, can contact New York malpractice attorneys to explore their legal rights and discuss their options. You could have the basis to file a lawsuit against the hospital or healthcare practitioner in an effort to recover damages for medical expenses, rehabilitative care needs, and compensatory damages for pain and suffering. The Sanders Firm offers free case evaluations for victims of surgical negligence in NY. To schedule your appointment, please call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY today.