Students And Residents Report Frequent Exposure To Defensive Medicine

More than 90% of learners report sometimes or often observing such practices, especially ordering more tests, more medications, or more consultations than medically indicated.  Large numbers (27-47%) also observed non-indicated invasive procedures, avoidance of indicated procedures, and failure to disclose medical errors.  The study is limited by learners perhaps inferring that certain things were done to avoid liability, but 41-60% report that their attendings sometimes or often explicitly refer to malpractice liability concerns playing a role in clinical decisions. — Laura Willett, MD

O’Leary KJ, Choi J, Watson K, Williams MV., Medical students’ and residents’ clinical and educational experiences with defensive medicine.,Acad Med. 2012 Feb;87(2):142-8.

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