Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Too much medical care?

An article came to me via Twitter, entitled "Too Much Medical Care?", in which the author used her daughter's experience with the medical system after spraining her ankle at dance camp to illustrate why medicine in America has become so hugely expensive.

The child's doctor, after looking at the sprained ankle, initially suggested a "wait and see" approach. A month later the ankle still hurt. The full armament of the medical establishment was then deployed on it: multiple MRIs, x-rays, as well as extensive bloodwork, most of it inconclusive or "ambiguous", requiring more MRIs and bloodwork. On one occasion the child almost fainted after seven vials of blood were drawn from her. She was referred at various points to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, a pediatric rheumatologist, and an eye specialist, all of whom ordered their own tests. The mother writes:
Five months after twisting an ankle, my otherwise healthy daughter limped out of the radiology office carrying X-rays of her hands. “Mom,’’ she said, “my ankle still hurts.”
That's five months of pain, five months of not being able to dance, five months of unnecessary medical rigmarole, and huge, huge, huge costs to the system. Contrast please the "bioenergetic rehabilitation" option: four appointments in the space of a week or ten days, at the cost of maybe $300, and she would have been fine. She might not have even needed the four appointments: for a sprained ankle, one might have been enough. She would have been back at dance camp a lot sooner, and the system would have been saved from spending tens of thousand of dollars on unnecessary medical tests on a healthy young girl.

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