“Cover-your-ass health care” or “save-my-ass medicine” are terms used to describe all the extra diagnostic tests (blood tests, CT scans, MRIs, etc.) ordered by physicians to rule out possible (but unlikely) life-threatening conditions.
Such as going to the emergency department with a headache and getting a CT scan to rule out an aneurysm or a brain tumor.
Or, as in this video example, being worked up for a heart attack when the most likely diagnosis is a simple case of heartburn. (Warning: video contains some bad language!)
The ER physician in the video is certainly more obnoxious and obvious than in real life, but the thought process is the same.
The fear of a medical malpractice lawsuit—failure to diagnose is a leading cause of lawsuits—does drive a lot of extra health care and cost in this country.
And it’s been going on for a long time. The problem, unfortunately, is that it’s become so routine to order these extra tests that they become the “standard of care.” And woe betide any physician that breaks from the standard of care, because that, too, can lead to a lawsuit.
Some physicians and health care groups, such as Choosing Wisely, are taking a stand against cover-your-ass medicine and overtreatment in general.
This video was created by a team called Healthcare Not Fair.
“HEALTHCARE NOT FAIR” is a satirical, comical and at the same time educational Web series about American healthcare created by Dr. Waqas Khan (a Physician in real life). It deals with encounters between different patients and the protagonist, Dr. I AM SORRY (played by himself) raising thought provoking questions about American society and healthcare debating about its qualities and exposing its flaws in the wake of newly implemented Affordable Care Act (THE OBAMACARE).
I’m looking forward to seeing more of their videos.