Unnecessary surgeries can lead to serious, lifelong consequences

As medical professionals receive years of schooling and training in their field, people understandably trust their opinions and recommendations when it comes to decisions regarding their medical care. Unfortunately, physicians do not always provide a proper standard of care, which can lead to serious consequences for their patients.

In fact, in some cases, doctors have recommended and subsequently performed surgical operations on their patients that were entirely unnecessary. In some areas, experts estimate that between 10 and 20 percent of surgeries are not needed, particularly certain cardiac and spinal surgeries.

Patients who undergo unnecessary surgeries risk not only complications following the procedure, but also the possibility of the physician making a surgical error during the operation.

Commonly performed, unnecessary surgeries

According to a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, the number of unnecessary surgeries performed annually has not improved much in the past almost four decades. The Harvard professor has been studying the problem since 1974, when a congressional report found that around 2.4 million unnecessary operations were performed every year, which lead to almost 12,000 patient fatalities.

Some of the most frequently performed unnecessary surgeries include:

  • Knee replacements.
  • Hysterectomies.
  • Cesarean sections.
  • Colonoscopies.

In addition, studies have found that a surprising number of pacemaker implantations and spinal fusions are not medically necessary. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2011 found that in over 22 percent of the over 100,000 cases in which a patient had a device similar to a pacemaker implanted, the surgery was unnecessary. In addition, a study by USA Today found that 10 percent of the Medicare-funded spinal fusions performed in 2011 were not needed.

According to a study conducted by USA Today, over 1,000 physicians since 2005 have settled medical malpractice cases in which the patient contended that the doctor performed an unnecessary operation. The study estimated that tens of thousands of unnecessary surgical procedures are performed on an annual basis.

Consider seeking a second opinion before entering the operating room

When a patient is told he or she requires a surgical operation, it is wise to be proactive with the medical advice received. In many cases, rather than immediately proceeding with the recommendation of one physician, it is wise for patients to seek a second opinion, to ensure surgery is the best option in their case.

If you have been harmed by a physician due to a potentially unnecessary surgery, seeking the advice of a skilled medical malpractice attorney will ensure your rights are protected.