(NaturalHealth365) To justify performing potentially harmful interventions, evidence-based medicine (EBM) mandates that every treatment or test be thoroughly researched and proven to be safe. In essence, the benefits must outweigh the risks. Sadly, even as technology advances and continues to offer safer options, some of the more outdated and “marginally” dangerous procedures are still being performed regularly.
For example, in the past several years, chest x-rays have been of particular interest to researchers in light of CT and MRI advancements. Seen by many experts as being obsolete and even useless, recent studies conclude that the ends do not justify the means and it has been proven that people in intensive care situations are being subjected to harmful radiation uselessly.
Is the truth about medical testing being discovered outside the United States?
Chest x-rays are the most common radiological test performed in U.S.-based intensive care units (ICU) and it no surprise that some of the most revealing studies have been published out of the country. For example, to determine the prevalence of clinically-relevant abnormalities in routine chest films and their relationship with decision-making in intensive care, researchers from Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil evaluated imaging tests that were conducted in a one-month period at the Hospital Universitário Professor Polydoro Ernani de São Thiago.
The study sample included 106 patients admitted to the ICU and 447 films were performed. Researchers discovered that 4.01 radiographs (on average) were taken per patient for no reason other than being “standard of care!”
The data from the article states that, “79.3 percent were normal, and 35.2 percent of abnormal radiographs did not prompt changes in medical care.” Ultimately, according to authors Ruza et al., “Most of the radiographs performed in the intensive care unit exhibited no statistically significant clinical alterations, and the radiographs that revealed abnormalities did not necessarily lead to changes in medical care.”
In other words, all these patients were radiated for no good reason other than to satisfy insurance requirements and fill the pockets of money-hungry hospitals and medical centers.
Are “emergency procedures” really an emergency?
Of interest to note is that the majority of films taken during the study period were requested within the first five days of being admitted into the ICU. Ruza et al. states, “A higher diagnostic uncertainty during this period can be presumed, and patients may have become ‘chronically critical’ and required less investigation after five days of hospitalization.” Subsequently, Sepsis Related Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) was not utilized in this patient population. Thus, indicating that their situation was not critical.
Are these diagnostic tests really necessary?
The question begging to be asked therefore is, “Why expose ICU patients to four doses of radiation if diagnostic certainty is low and if their medical situation doesn’t warrant it? Ruza et al.’s review indicates that, “Studies of the number of chest radiographs in an ICU, which are the majority of requested imaging tests requested, have revealed no statistical relationship to justify daily radiographs in critical patients, regardless of the severity of the clinical condition” (emphasis mine).
Ruza and team, therefore, advise that, “Requests for diagnostic tests should be based on clinical justifications.”
Let’s not forget the motto – ‘do no harm’
At the core of the Hippocratic Oath that every medical doctor agrees to be sworn in to is the vow to do no harm. Cornell University MD’s specifically promise, “That I will lead my life and practice my art with integrity and honor, using my power wisely…That I will maintain this sacred trust, holding myself far aloof from wrong, from corrupting, from the tempting of others to vice.”
Sadly, no one seems to be holding these men and women to their promises. If the American Medical Association and the United States Government won’t keep their promises – who will? The answer is clear – you can.
It is time for patients to demand that their doctors stand up and refuse to be used as tools for destruction and to stand up for what’s right!
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