A "Stupid" Rant
(I wrote this the other day when I was too hopping mad to see straight. Today, GruntDoc's post about waste rekindled my ire; hence the profanity:)
Who the fuck does an MRI on a 14-year-old gymnast with two months of low back pain, no history of injury, no neuro findings and a normal physical exam? A suburban orthopedist, of course. Believe it or not, the study showed "mild degenerative disk disease," but it had no impact whatsoever on management: wear a lumbosacral support; activity to comfort.
Cut me a fucking break! Talk all you want about how much money the "healthcare system" wastes each year/month/week/hour on futile care, defensive medicine, unnecessary medications and bullshit hospital admissions, but this is the bread and butter that pads specialists' incomes to the half-mil mark.
Build it and they will scan! An MRI on every street corner, and they won't go begging for business either. Shit; how long until someone starts to push screening MRIs for brain tumors? Catch them early, you know. Not that you could do anything about them, but at least the patient might live for six months instead of six weeks. Can anyone say "lead time bias"?
This isn't defensive medicine; this isn't zebra hunting; this is intellectual laziness plain and simple. Just because someone got into and out of medical school and an orthopedic residency does not mean they can't be STUPID! And that's what this is: stupid, wasteful and well, stupid.
As of today, I'm changing the Fourth Law of the Dinosaur from "No good deed goes unpunished" (a generalized truism that was suggested originally by Flea and included because I didn't have many Laws at the time) to:
There is no cure for Stupid.