New and expanding problems in malpractice demand fresh insights. Doctors have learned to practice defensive medicine—lab tests to be certain no information is missed, X rays to prove no bone was broken, IVPs to be sure no stone was left undiscerned. The American Medical Association (AMA) defines defensive medicine as “the performance of diagnostic tests and treatment procedures which, but for the threat of a malpractice action, would not have been done.”18 They estimate that defensive medicine costs the people of the United States an additional $15 billion per year.
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