In the immortal words of the great philosopher Michael Corleone: “I keep trying to get out, but I keep getting pulled back in.”
That describes healthcare too. One thing leads to another, and you end up in the “treatment trap.” This is my own personal tale of (narrowly avoided) massive overtreatment woe. This incident bothered me for a long time…and ultimately was the inspiration for Quizzify. I thought, if this could happen to me, it could happen to anybody.
Some variation of this has happened to me not once, but many times. If I got all the scans that doctors have advised me to get, I’d be glowing by now. In the oh-I-know-it-sounds-crazy-but-it-just-might-work department, I do have a solution to help reduce the number of CT scans in this country, which is: Stop calling them scans.
You see, the word “scan” by itself is quintessentially non-threatening. For instance, after you “scan the horizon,” the horizon is none the worse off for wear. Most people approach medical scans with the same nonchalance. Most patients are not cautioned in advance about the radiation (100 to 1000 times that of an x-ray) and sometimes the referring physician doesn’t bother to mention the IV with the dye in it. If a doctor says, “I’d like to order a CT scan for you,” most people say “fine.” Or, at worst, “What’s the cost?” (Many people even demand one before the doctor proposes it.)
However, if the doctor says: “I’d like to order an intravenous dye-assisted radiation scan for you,” people might start asking the questions they should have been asking in the first place.
Please see Ann’s comment below. She makes the excellent point that often the doctor is not the instigator of these scans. The patient is. I’ll let her take it from here…