PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The American College of Emergency Physicians conducted a survey and found a doctor’s fear of being sued is the main reason why they order the number of tests they do. One ER chief, who pays $75,000 a year per physician for malpractice insurance, says legal reform is desperately needed.

For those who say, ‘What is the harm in getting that CT scan, or extra blood test,’ Dr. Theodore Christopher, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has an answer for you.

“If you order a CT scan or an MRI, which takes a really long time to get done, then patients spend a longer time in the emergency department,” Dr. Christopher said.

Dr. Christopher says it backs up the Department making the wait times longer and private physicians are steering more people to the ER for tests or a Consult with a specialist because they themselves do not want to be sued.

“I think we had less fear of liability, we would be more likely to discharge these patients, send them home, have them follow up with their private doctors and have their private doctors actually contribute to the decision making to actually get these tests.”

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio

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