Spinal Fusion

Posted on Oct 28, 2013

We have talked previously about unnecessary surgeries and why doctors opt for certain procedures that their patients don’t need. Now let’s analyze a specific procedure that has unfortunately drawn new attention over the past couple of years: spinal fusion surgery.

This expensive procedure involves joining two or more vertebrae together. Each year for the past 20 years, the rate of spinal fusion surgery has increased dramatically. However, according to government data, some researchers say that out of the 465,000 spinal fusions performed in the US in 2011, about as many as half of them were unnecessary.

A very likely reason for this: financial rewards.

Surgeon Federico C. Vinas was earning as much as $1.9 million a year because of the amounts of surgeries he would perform. According to the Washington Post, in 2010, Halifax Health, the hospital that employed him, hired a respected company to analyze whether or not the surgeries performed by Vinas were necessary. According to the summary of that report, only 1 out of 10 spinal fusions analyzed were medically necessary.  The surgeon disputed that report.

With certain surgeries, the hospital provides financial benefits to the neurosurgeons. For example, sometimes surgeons can earn as much as thousands of dollars extra for each procedure after a certain threshold.

Usually, information that might indicate the ways that economics shape medical decisions by doctors and hospitals doesn’t become public. It’s usually covered by the media only when there’s multiple amount of lawsuit being filed against a specific hospital and/or doctor or if it’s a multimillion case.

For any serious medical procedure, always question your doctor, make sure you know your situation, and get a second opinion. Don’t automatically assume everything a doctor says to be completely unbiased and entirely correct.

Read about the other signs that can help you identify and prevent medical malpractice cases from happening to you and your family. Download the report 7 Symptoms Of Medical Malpractice: How Every Patient Can Recognize, Stop and Avoid Medical Mistakes by clicking here, or by calling us today at (202)393-3320.

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