A recent study suggests that more and more people with minor injuries are increasingly being given CT Scans despite widespread efforts to reduce the unnecessary use of such diagnostic tests, according to a recent study.  While the focus on reducing the prevalence of these test has been primarily on children, adults who go to their local emergency room are found to be subjected to these tests at a surprising rate, even though they are being treated for relatively minor injuries.

The study, conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco reviewed data from every hospital in the state between 2005 and 2013.  Research was concentrated on minor injuries, which were classified as patients who were discharged after the initial treatment, including those with only sprains and strains.  The number of patients with these types of injuries who were subjected to a CT Scan between 2005 and 2013 rose from 3.51% to just over 7%.

 The 72 million CT scans undergone by Americans in 2007 alone will allegedly cause 29,000 excess cancers according to the National Cancer Institute, which almost half of them being potentially fatal.  Understandably, many doctors prefer to put patients through these scans out of an abundance of caution, and also out of a sense of efficiency, because the scan can avoid the need to keep a patient overnight for observation. 

However, there is a solid basis for doctors and their rationale.  In addition to genuine care for patients’ well-being, there are also grave consequences when steps are missed that could lead to important diagnoses.  Most doctors would rather find themselves being accused of being too cautious than being accused of medical malpractice.

Here at the Schulman Law Group, a young female client of ours complained of neck and shoulder pain and discomfort to her physician for almost two years before she was referred to undergo diagnostic testing, as her physician attributed her symptoms to normal back pain.  Frighteningly enough, after finally undergoing the imaging scan, she was found to have a tumor.  It is situation like these that give doctors pause when they are told they should try and limit the use of diagnostic testing, though each situation comes with its own individual circumstances and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

For more discussion on this topic or any other, feel free to contact the Schulman Law Group at (954) 349-3300 or at info@www.schulaw.com