CT scans are very, very good at detecting potential embolisms, or blockages, in a person’s lungs.
In fact, maybe they are too good.
A recent study has suggested that CT scans might show small embolisms that are completely benign, which in turn would lead to dangerous, costly and needless procedures.
Now, it is fair to say that people in Connecticut want all reasonable measures taken when it comes to safeguarding their health. But it also is fair to say that no one wants to pay for pointless treatment, either in a literal financial sense or a figurative physical sense.
Some doctors think the old-fashioned way of detecting embolisms might be better than CT scans, but there is resistance to go back to this old technique because some doctors fear that using anything but the most cutting-edge techniques will result in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
This study was only recently released, so the medical community has not had time to process it yet. We will be watching with interest to see what, if any, impact it has.
Many people think that modern treatments are a panacea. While it’s true that, on the whole, they have greatly advanced the field of medicine, that does not mean they are flawless and perfect in every way.
As we said, this study is fairly new. If anything further develops here, we will considering writing a follow-up post. We think it’s important to stay abreast of developments and important changes, and that’s what we strive to do with this blog.
Source: The New York Times, “CT Scan May Be Too Good at Finding Lung Problems, Study Finds,” Nicholas Bakalar, July 3, 2013