Medical Economics references an eBook by Jackson Healthcare whose surveys revealed that defensive medicine is responsible for 35% of diagnostic tests, 29% of lab tests, 19% of hospitalizations, 14% of prescriptions, and 87% of surgeries. This obviously is a big factor in escalating health care costs. There is some evidence that defensive medicine actually increases the risk of medical malpractice lawsuits, rather than being protective.
Defensive medicine continues to be taught to younger doctors in training. It would be much better to establish trust in the doctor/patient relationship. Potential adversaries do not work well together to achieve optimal health.
See ModernMedicine.com (click here) or August 20, 2010 issue of Medical Economics.