Common Practice. It is such a simple phrase that it’s easy to ignore it when you come across it in the newspaper or online. One recent usage was in regards to doctors using suction from a syringe to remove a blood clot (a thrombectomy) instead of the safer balloon angioplasty. A study by the University of Toronto concluded that patients who have a thrombectomy instead of balloon angioplasty are significantly more likely to have a stroke. Still, this is Common Practice, so the doctors who have been using this more dangerous procedure don’t feel the need to explain why they have been putting their patients in danger.
There are many other Common Practices that put patients at risk. Some of the most dangerous include:
- Prescribing medications “off-label,” meaning prescribing the drug for something other than FDA approved uses
- Ordering unnecessary tests, which are not only expensive but can actually be harmful (such as CT scans and other tests which expose an individual to radiation)
- Pressuring women into C-Sections at the doctor’s convenience for scheduling purposes
Any time you hear that something is a Common Practice you should be worried. All the phrase means is that it is something doctors choose to do, rather than what the medical literature actually supports.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to medical malpractice, or due to being prescribed an unnecessary test or treatment, please contact an attorney. These Common Practices will remain common until the proper pressure is placed on doctors to follow what is supported by evidence, not just what they feel like doing. The only way to apply that pressure is through the legal system.