By Cheryl Clark
It is financially compelling for many doctors to do things that aren’t really going to help their patients, says an orthopedist who is leading a campaign against surgical overuse.
Financial conflicts of interest often drive physicians to perform worthless surgeries, but the field of orthopedics “is one of the worst offenders,” says an Indiana orthopedist who has launched a “moral persuasion” campaign to persuade his colleagues to stop.
“It’s really hard for doctors to acknowledge this and change their ways,” says James Rickert, MD, who years ago founded the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedic Surgery to address the problem.
It’s especially tough for doctors who own related businesses that depend on surgical volume, which puts even more pressure on them to “be more like businessmen instead of doctors,” he says.