Are doctors performing useless surgery under workers’ compensation because they are fooled by the placebo effect or just trying to make a quick buck?
The New York Times published a controversial article questioning the effectiveness of several common surgical procedures. Spinal fusion, kyphoplasty, and meniscectomy were all mentioned as operations without good support from clinical trials. Possible reasons why these “useless” surgeries were still being offered include the placebo effect on both patient and doctor as well as financial disincentives.
We found this article shocking considering the number of patients who undergo these operations each year. Many of our workers’ compensation clients have gotten much needed relief from these surgical procedures. This article seems to be an extension of the evidence-based medicine (EBM) debate. Here are our thoughts on the issue.
EBM has been causing controversy for years. It sounds good on paper but does not always work as advertised. Proposals circulated in Michigan would have limited choice of doctor and put bureaucrats in charge of medical decision making. It would have also shifted costs away from the responsible party onto taxpayers through programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
EBM also relies upon outdated and sometimes flawed data. Research is expensive and some areas of medicine are just underfunded. Certain population segments have been historically under-researched.
Michigan law allows a person to select their own doctor after 28 days under workers’ compensation. Doctors should be free to treat patients as individuals based upon their professional judgment and clinical experience.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by oskay.