The Treatment Trap author visits CT

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I had already ordered her book online after reading a review in Health Affairs when I got an invitation to hear Rosemary Gibson, author of the Treatment Trap: How the Overuse of Medical Care is Wrecking Your Health and What You Can Do to Prevent It. Her visit yesterday was hosted by AARP-CT and the CT Center for Patient Safety. Ms. Gibson highlighted the problem of medical overtreatment and how it harms our health. 32% of Americans report getting treatment they didn’t need. She related at least a dozen stories of patients whose health was compromised by getting too much care. An accountant received joint replacement surgery in his toe for arthritis, but his pain got worse until he was eventually restricted to a wheelchair. He had the joint replacement removed saying he could live with arthritis, but not with the replacement. A healthy woman was told she needed heart surgery and overheard the doctor say to a nurse, “We’re under pressure to get more patients. We’re only at 9 a day now and we need to get to 14 to make this place pay for itself.” She got a second opinion and avoided surgery. A RAND study found that 1 in 3 angiograms were unnecessary. Ms. Gibson asserts that avoiding overtreatment and its costs would more than fund all the care needed by America’s uninsured.
Ellen Andrews