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Medical malpractice in Louisiana leaves patients in harm's way

Louisiana hospitals are designed as places of refuge and healing. When pain and suffering develop, the sanctuary of a hospital is supposed to provide excellent medical care with competent doctors and caring nurses to assist in recuperation. Due to the extreme number of medical procedures performed every day, it makes sense to have safety guidelines to protect patients from mistakes and medical malpractice.

What happens when doctors start performing unnecessary tests? A recent survey showed that nearly a quarter of orthopedic surgeons engage in what is known as defensive medicine. The term applies to the practice of ordering tests and procedures that protect the establishment, including doctors and nurses, rather than provide validated medical help for the patient. This can come in the form of extra MRI scans, x-rays and unneeded prescriptions.

By nature, hospitals are thought to be a sterile environment. This is not necessarily the case due to the number of different illnesses caged in one place. Whenever a doctor introduces unneeded procedures, they inherently open the door for additional risks. The practice of defensive medicine appears to do more harm than good in several instances.

Medical malpractice in Louisiana is taken very seriously. Extensive guidelines are in place to prevent the exact problems detailed in this report. Consequences fall on the shoulders of the patients to bear when a doctor violates the cardinal rule: "First, do no harm." In these unfortunate situations, the first step in recovery is seeking qualified representation to uncover answers from the parties whose alleged medical malpractice caused serious harm.

Source: The New York Times, "More Treatment, More Mistakes," Sanjay Gupta, July 31, 2012

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