Avalanche of unnecessary medical care harming patients physically and financially

Overkill, annals of health care

overtreatment image
Millions of Americans get tests, drugs, and operations that won’t make them better, may cause harm, and cost billions. What can we do about it asks Atul Gawande, surgeon and public-health researcher. Image by Anna Parini.

Virtually every family in the country, the research indicates, has been subject to overtesting and overtreatment in one form or another. The costs appear to take thousands of dollars out of the paychecks of every household each year. Researchers have come to refer to financial as well as physical “toxicities” of inappropriate care—including reduced spending on food, clothing, education, and shelter. Millions of people are receiving drugs that aren’t helping them, operations that aren’t going to make them better, and scans and tests that do nothing beneficial for them, and often cause harm.

Why does this fact barely seem to register publicly?

Read Overkill, newyorker Annals of Health Care, MAY 11, 2015.

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