Top 10 Reasons Physicians Practice Defensive Medicine

Seventy-five percent of physicians say they practice defensive medicine, and most do so to avoid being named in potential malpractice lawsuits, according to a new survey from Jackson Healthcare.

The survey is based on responses from 1,548 physicians from August 31 through October 31. Of those physicians who indicated they practice defensive medicine, here are the top 10 reasons why. Respondents chose all that applied.

1. To avoid being named in a potential lawsuit — 78 percent.
2. Defensive medicine has become the new "standard of care" — 61 percent.
3. Patient or family demands that everything humanly possible be done — 59 percent.
4. To adhere to the standard of perfection to which patients hold physicians. Any bad result is the physician's fault — 53 percent.
5. I do not want to risk my personal finances — 52 percent.
6. Fear of missing something. I don't want to make a mistake or be wrong — 52 percent.
7. To protect my good name. I do not wish to risk my reputation — 48 percent.
8. I have been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit and do not wish to repeat the experience — 41 percent.
9. Colleagues have been named in (a) medical malpractice lawsuit(s) and I saw what they went through to defend themselves. I don't want that to happen to me — 41 percent.
10.  Peer pressure. Other physicians of my specialty are doing it, and I'm afraid I'll look "deficient" by comparison if I do not — 24 percent.

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