The birth of your child should be one of the most joyous moments of your life. Getting to hold that squirming baby in your arms lights up the heart of any parent. As such, most expectant mothers spend a great deal of time researching and choosing the appropriate OB/GYN doctor for their delivery. But what if your doctor is more concerned with the hospital’s bottom line than the personal well-being of you and your child? Could such a thing even happen? Shockingly, the answer is yes and it happens more than you might think.
According to Think Progress, a recent survey of American surgical procedures was conducted by USA Today. The results of that survey may surprise you. After pouring through databases of medical information from the government, the study found that of all the surgeries performed by certain specialties, including OB/GYN, between ten and twenty percent of those procedures were not medically necessary. For the OB/GYN community, the most commonly performed unnecessary procedures were cesarean sections and hysterectomies.
Unfortunately, many patients do not even realize that the procedure they had performed was unnecessary. We trust our doctors to make decisions that are in our best interest. If a procedure is not necessary, we don’t know about it and probably won’t unless something goes tragically wrong during the procedure. In fact, a recent study from the highly respected Journal for the America Medical Association (JAMA) has shown that hospitals actually stand to profit more if a surgery is botched because they then get to bill for follow-up treatments to repair the first one’s mistakes.
So why would a doctor do this? Sadly, the answer comes down to money. Surgeries can be billed at a higher rate than non-surgical procedures. Many times, it is seen as a “victimless” crime since the insurance companies pay the cost of the procedure and the patient doesn’t see the bill. But, these patients are victims because they are having their bodies put through greater stress and recovery for procedures they don’t need. A C-section instead of a natural childbirth earns the hospital and the doctor more money because of the need for a surgical suite, anesthesiologist, and more nursing and support staff. The patient doesn’t know if the C-section is necessary. She trusts her doctor. But the recovery from the procedure is more, as muscle and tissue that have been cut must take more time to heal. Also, complications during a surgical procedure are often more likely than during a non-surgical procedure.
No one is suggesting that all doctors are performing unnecessary procedures. Most members of the practice are honorable individuals who are using their best judgment to uphold their Hippocratic oaths. But, as with any profession, there are some who look more towards monetary gain than their patients’ best interests. If you feel as if you or a loved one has been the unknowing victim of medical malpractice by your OB/GYN, please contact the law offices of Wolf & Pravato to learn your rights about this situation.