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Unnecessary Medical Procedures and the Dangers of Robot Surgery

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the danger-will-robinson dept.

Medicine 130

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that in a new report aimed at improving healthcare and controlling runaway costs, a coalition of leading medical societies has identified nearly 100 medical procedures, tests and therapies that are overused and often unnecessary. The medical interventions — including early cesarean deliveries, CT scans for head injuries in children and annual Pap tests for middle-aged women — may be necessary in some cases, but are often not beneficial and may even cause harm. 'We are very concerned about the rapidly escalating cost of healthcare,' says Dr. Bruce Sigsbee. 'This is not healthy for the country, and something has to be done.' Each of the specialty medical societies has provided a list of five procedures that physicians and patients should question about the overuse of medical tests and procedures that provide little benefit and in some cases harm. A 2012 report from the independent Institute of Medicine estimated total waste in the system at 30%, or $750 billion a year. 'Millions of Americans are increasingly realizing that when it comes to healthcare, more is not necessarily better,' says Dr. Christine K. Cassel." According to pigrabbitbear, it's the robots we should be wary of. He writes "'We are committed to helping victims of robot surgery receive the medical care and compensation they deserve. As both a lawyer and a licensed medical doctor, Dr. Francois Blaudeau has made it his mission to fight for the victims of traumatic complications as a result of botched robot surgery.' That's the opening salvo from the medical malpractice lawyers who run the slick fear factory of a website, BadRobotSurgery.com. According to the doctor-lawyers behind it—doctor-lawyers like Francois Blaudeau, MD, JD, FACHE, FCLM—'thousands of people have suffered severe and critical complications at the hands of surgical robots. In fact, 'robotic surgery has been linked to many serious injuries and severe complications, including death.'

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You've convinced me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978441)

Slashdot editors aren't paid by the number of posts.

Two unrelated things? (4, Insightful)

Thiez (1281866) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978445)

Why are these two unrelated topics in a single post? The word 'robot' does not even occur in any of the 'Unnecessary Medical Procedures' articles (does using 'find' count as RTFA'ing?)

Re:Two unrelated things? (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978501)

Why are these two unrelated topics in a single post?

Conflation .. the new tabloid journalism of the 21st century .. and the 20th, and probably the 19th, 18th, 17th etc.

Re:Two unrelated things? (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978657)

piss-yellow journalism

Re:Two unrelated things? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978513)

Because it allows for better trolling of course, why?

Re:Two unrelated things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978903)

The entire media has been trolling-based for at least a decade now; I don't know why people expected /. to be better.

Re:Two unrelated things? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978735)

They're related by both being mentioned in the same Slashdot post, QED. Which part of circular reasoning are you failing to understand?

Re:Two unrelated things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979651)

The nice thing is that this kind of misleading conflation of totally unrelated things gets called out instantly in the comments, so no one is misled.

Re:Two unrelated things? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980723)

Both may be driving up healthcare costs? I don't know much about healthcare, and I'm sure there are many experts with strong opinions on the subject who would say "No, THIS THING is what's driving up costs of healthcare," (the liability and lawyers contribution seems like a convincing one) but seems like pointless medical costs and a push for overpriced surgical robots that aren't better could increase costs.

It's even worse than he imagines (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978487)

It's worrying about the wrong thing. Millions of people have suffered severe and critical complications at the hands of human surgeons. In fact, 'human surgery has been linked to many serious injuries and severe complications, including death.' /sarcasm

Re:It's even worse than he imagines (1, Offtopic)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978521)

It gets worse! Millions of people have been killed by an insidious substance known as dihydrogen-oxide! If you have suffered sever injury or death as a result of an encounter with dihydrogen-oxide, call me!

DHMO: Exercise ordinary caution (0)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978649)

Like many other substances, DHMO has good and bad purposes. It's essential for human life and for crop growth, so much so that most U.S. homes have a DHMO pipeline with four or more taps. Just be careful around pools where DHMO is stored, as any liquid can cause drowning.

Re:DHMO: Exercise ordinary caution (1)

TuringCheck (1989202) | about a year and a half ago | (#42981737)

... as any liquid can cause drowning.

Actually you'd have a hard time trying to drown someone in mercury.

Re:It's even worse than he imagines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978605)

And lots of people have suffered negative consequences of consuming arsenic as well as apples.

One thing being dangerous, does not automatically imply that something else that is not related is safe. It's normal here on /. to automatically assume that anyone who is sceptical or negative to some application of technology is an amish luddite but you're just being silly, now.

Re:It's even worse than he imagines (1)

acedotcom (998378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979293)

Sounds like what we really need is Old Glory Robot Insurance [ebaumsworld.com] .

Robots good humans bad (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978511)

Human surgery has been linked to many serious injuries and severe complications, including death.

And I think many more such cases overall than for robot surgery. Horror stories can be found always, just a matter of searching hard enough.

The question is: which one is more reliable overall?

Re:Robots good humans bad (1)

javilon (99157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978541)

From the article: "In fact, 'robotic surgery has been linked to many serious injuries and severe complications, including death.'"

Same thing goes for surgeons, but a robot has two qualities that your run of the mill surgeon doesn't: It is consistent in its results (you can end up in the hands of a drunken surgeon, someone who just lost a familiar, or it just happens to have a bad day), and it is cheaper (in the long run).

If a generation of robots have some problem or make some mistakes, next generation will improve on it, for all of the units. For a doctor, each one is different and have its own particular weaknesses, most of them having to do with emotional stuff, and they are already information overloaded, so no much room for improvement.

Also, rich people will be able to select what doctor treats them, but for the rest of the population that is not possible. The malpractice results of this are usually played down, but we all have heard about medical mistakes from friends and family.

And if you go out of the US, in poor countries "bad" but affordable care from robots is superior to "good" but inaccessible medicine from doctors.

Automation is coming to all other aspects of life, shedding jobs at its wake. I don't see why doctors need to be protected from that, as long as automation brings some benefits to society.

Robotic surgery != robots doing surgery (3, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978885)

Same thing goes for surgeons, but a robot has two qualities that your run of the mill surgeon doesn't: It is consistent in its results (you can end up in the hands of a drunken surgeon, someone who just lost a familiar, or it just happens to have a bad day), and it is cheaper (in the long run).

Robotic surgery doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. It isn't an autonomous robot doing the procedure. It is a doctor doing the procedure using robotic technology to enhance and assist. It improves capabilities for minimally invasive surgery and remote surgery but it is not what you are describing.

Automation is coming to all other aspects of life, shedding jobs at its wake. I don't see why doctors need to be protected from that, as long as automation brings some benefits to society.

Common misconception. Automation does not "shed jobs", it simply pushes the jobs elsewhere. We automated farming and that freed the labor force to work in manufacturing and services and we all have benefited greatly from that shift. Manufacturing is now being increasingly automated for many things freeing labor for more valuable tasks. A lot of work is not value added. A lot of my work is as an accountant. Theoretically I could keep the books by hand like they did before computers with large staff but that adds no economic value to what we do, just cost. Better to use Quickbooks and automate and apply that labor more productively elsewhere. The purpose of jobs is not to provide a paycheck. The purpose of jobs is to do economically useful work. If a machine can do the work more economically that labor needs to be applied elsewhere.

Doctors don't need to be protected from automation any more than anyone else. If anything they welcome the productivity improvements automation can provide, particularly on the administrative side of things. But it's pretty hard to automate a checkup or removing an appendix. We give them a lot of training because those skills are not presently replaceable with any technology we possess. Perhaps that will change someday but it won't be anytime soon.

Re:Robotic surgery != robots doing surgery (2, Interesting)

javilon (99157) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979313)

Robotic surgery doesn't mean what you seem to think it means. It isn't an autonomous robot doing the procedure. It is a doctor doing the procedure using robotic technology to enhance and assist. It improves capabilities for minimally invasive surgery and remote surgery but it is not what you are describing.

Well, you are mostly right, but having a robot involved, even if it is minimally autonomous, means a complex tool is being used, introducing some consistency to the part of the job it does. A bit like the difference between using an automatic plant to build a car versus doing it manually like it is still done with italian sports cars.
But this is only the beginning. I have seen reports of the next wave of medical robots becoming more autonomous, like sensing the type of tissue and refusing to go into the wrong type.

Common misconception. Automation does not "shed jobs", it simply pushes the jobs elsewhere. We automated farming and that freed the labor force to work in manufacturing and services and we all have benefited greatly from that shift. Manufacturing is now being increasingly automated for many things freeing labor for more valuable tasks. A lot of work is not value added. A lot of my work is as an accountant. Theoretically I could keep the books by hand like they did before computers with large staff but that adds no economic value to what we do, just cost. Better to use Quickbooks and automate and apply that labor more productively elsewhere. The purpose of jobs is not to provide a paycheck. The purpose of jobs is to do economically useful work. If a machine can do the work more economically that labor needs to be applied elsewhere.

This one uses examples from the industrial revolution that are not applicable anymore because the rate of automation is far faster (and accelerating), meaning that the economy doesn't have enough time to rellocate workers to other basic tasks before they are automated as well. In fact, the way things are going, non educated people will have a hard time competing with machines in any basic job. By the time we get around to change society, we'll have so much unemployment that it will be very difficult to manage. This time is the singularity. It is not just better tools that are removing jobs, it is artificial intelligence, of the non strong variety (for now). What is left for the workers to compete?

Doctors don't need to be protected from automation any more than anyone else. If anything they welcome the productivity improvements automation can provide, particularly on the administrative side of things. But it's pretty hard to automate a checkup or removing an appendix. We give them a lot of training because those skills are not presently replaceable with any technology we possess. Perhaps that will change someday but it won't be anytime soon.

If ten years doesn't sound like anytime soon to you, then you are right. The speed things are going, it will start about that time. Please google references to IBM Whatson. It is not a robot, and it is only labeled as an assistant to diagnostic, but it already is capable of being on top of all of the literature about cancer, and make suggestions based on that. This is something very few doctors can do, or have the time and interest of doing. In any case, I agree doctors don't need special protection. That is my point. But it is also true that they will use their collective power to try to stop technology if they see it as threating their position, so it is quite likely they will lobby for regulations using scare tactics.

Re:Robotic surgery != robots doing surgery (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980577)

This one uses examples from the industrial revolution that are not applicable anymore because the rate of automation is far faster (and accelerating), meaning that the economy doesn't have enough time to rellocate workers to other basic tasks before they are automated as well.

And your evidence for this is where exactly? Exactly how are you measuring "rate of automation"? (and no a book by Ray Kurzweil or Vernor Vinge is not evidence of anything) Even accounting for the recent economic problems employment rates are well within the range of normal and there is no evidence I am aware of that indicates any unusual difficulty in reallocating labor.

In fact, the way things are going, non educated people will have a hard time competing with machines in any basic job.

Decisions to automate are economic decisions largely based on volume and value. They are rarely technological decisions. Professionally I'm an accountant who specializes in cost accounting. There are a huge number of jobs that are not particularly easy to automate. I run a manufacturing business. We have some automation, some skilled labor and some unskilled labor. There is NO technology that can economically automate much of what we do economically. Technologically it is possible but not economically. Our customers buy relatively small numbers of parts and some buy relatively complicated parts. Even if labor were free you could not make a profit on the work we do with automation. The up front cost is too high and will remain so for the foreseeable future. There will be marginal improvements but I don't see any technology that will allow many types of products to be economically automated.

This time is the singularity. It is not just better tools that are removing jobs, it is artificial intelligence, of the non strong variety (for now). What is left for the workers to compete?

Ahh, I get it. You think the so-called singularity is a real thing. It's an interesting theory I'll admit but it also is an excellent example of the dangers of believing too deeply in unbounded extrapolation. I can extrapolate all sorts of doomsday scenarios based on available information.

But it is also true that they will use their collective power to try to stop technology if they see it as threating their position, so it is quite likely they will lobby for regulations using scare tactics.

If you can show that something is medically beneficial, you'll have doctors pushing for it. Much of my wife's job could someday be replaced with molecular diagnostic tests and she would be the first person to tell you they should use them. Never forget that most doctors didn't go into medicine for the money. I have never met one who wouldn't recommend using a test or procedure with demonstrably better outcomes even if it hurts them economically. Most of them actually care about their patients and are not the sort of amoral people you portray.

Re:Robotic surgery != robots doing surgery (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42981547)

Well, you are mostly right, but having a robot involved, even if it is minimally autonomous, means a complex tool is being used, introducing some consistency to the part of the job it does.

Just not to the results, early robots would just continue to smash things until someone hit the off switch when things go wrong. Not that most robotic surgery is autonomous at all, it's mostly advanced puppeteering of tools smaller than the surgeon could operate directly.

This one uses examples from the industrial revolution that are not applicable anymore because the rate of automation is far faster (and accelerating), meaning that the economy doesn't have enough time to rellocate workers to other basic tasks before they are automated as well.

I doubt we'll run out of work as such, there'll never be an end to the want for personal services and the poor will end up working for each other for pennies because they can't afford the robot products. However, the return on capital and the return on labor may diverge, meaning the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the distance increase to the point where there's really no way to move up through regular labor, even highly qualified positions. Not unlike what you see in certain third world countries, there's the ultra rich, those that provide services to them and the ultra poor.

It is not a robot, and it is only labeled as an assistant to diagnostic, but it already is capable of being on top of all of the literature about cancer, and make suggestions based on that. This is something very few doctors can do, or have the time and interest of doing.

And it doesn't have to outcompete the best surgeon in the world, it only needs to be available then and there. A robot that can give you surgery now, no matter how risky is better than a doctor who can operate in an hour when you're dead. But I'm guessing for quite some time still a robot will cost more than a human.

Re:Robots good humans bad (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979193)

Surgical 'robots' are pretty much entirely human operated cut-by-wire devices. "Waldos [wikipedia.org] " of varying sophistication and shape.

Very handy because you can, say, mount the business end of the device on something a lot thinner and more flexible than a surgeon's wrist, and avoid having to crack the patient's entire chest open, or apply a filter between the input and the output, to allow the surgeon to make otherwise impossibly tiny motions.

To the best of my understanding, much of the remaining challenge is machine vision/sensing. Unlike assembly line robots, surgical bots can't make assumptions about product uniformity(indeed, if they have you cracked open for repair, abnormality is the only safe assumption, though even clinically normal people can vary considerably) and failure to correctly distinguish between tissue types or other visual mistakes can have unpleasant consequences.

In terms of pure steadiness, strength, or repeatability, humans are pretty screwed; but getting robots to stop fucking up magnificently when something unexpected happens has continued to be tricky.

Re:Robots good humans bad (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979235)

The question is: which one is more reliable overall?

The answer is, "It depends." Before I had a prostatectomy several years ago, I looked very hard into the humans vs. robotic surgery question, at both the available statistics (such as they were) and with conversations with about a half-dozen men who'd had one or the other procedure. Neither side had a clear edge. The surgeon who ended up with my business told me that he felt that the da Vinci procedure was oversold, and that patients were disappointed when recovery didn't occur as quickly or fully as they'd come to expect. This was borne out by the conversations I had; the guys who had the robotic procedure were no more able to get it up than the ones who had traditional surgery, and continence was about the same for both groups. But the surgeon matters most. The guy who had the worst experience went to the premier prostate cancer center in the country and got a protege of the top surgeon. The guys who stayed local and sought out the top guys in our area were much happier, me included.

Re:Robots good humans bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42980301)

The question is: which one is more reliable overall?

Actually, the success rates are the same. The difference? Robot surgery is more expensive.

Re:Robots good humans bad (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42981187)

The second story is specifically about Da Vinci robots, which were supposed to revolutionize medicine by being able to perform the whole surgery automatically. As a general rule, when doing bone surgery, like knee replacements, the robots were prone to causing unnecessary ligament damage and generally left the patient with a very long recovery time as a result. This doesn't mean all robots in surgery are bad; with the exception of all-in-wonders like the Da Vinci, the vast majority are directly human-controlled and actually yield superior results to humans because they're more precise, more steady, and easier to sterilize. And they can often make cuts in positions and orientations the human hand can't get at, reducing the size of the wounds necessary (e.g. some chest surgeries can now be done through a tiny hole, rather than opening up the whole ribcage.)

Medicine already found the answer to the robots vs. humans question some time ago: advanced human-controlled machinery; generally called robot- or computer-assisted surgery rather than just roboticized surgery. I'm rather troubled by the fact that badrobotsurgery.com even exists; the conditions they're treating absolutely should not be handled with the Da Vinci I learned about as an undergrad.

Re:Robots good humans bad (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42982203)

I'm rather troubled by the fact that badrobotsurgery.com even exists; the conditions they're treating absolutely should not be handled with the Da Vinci I learned about as an undergrad.

When you have a special hammer that allows you to charge more, everything starts to look like a nail.

Have there even been thousands of robot surgeries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978519)

Did I miss the future?

robot /rbät/
Noun

  1 A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically.
  2 (esp. in science fiction) A machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions.

I think they are confusing tele-medicine with surgical robots.

Re:Have there even been thousands of robot surgeri (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979427)

Well, there are millions of robots out there; I'm sure that more than a few have had surgery. I guess that in some cases, fixing the robot you own is cheaper than buying a new one.

Time warp? (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978525)

With this "robot surgery" is it 2060 or just April first?
Remote control surgery via endoscope, lapriscope or whatever has a human being driving a tool. There are no droids to be looking for.

Re:Time warp? (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978901)

These surgeries are safer and less painful than traditional gut-opening ones. They're even doing heart bypasses this way now.

So while some are no doubt botched, overall people are better with than without, a net gain.

Therefore these lawyers need to die screaming like pigs in hell for pretending otherwise. What's up with the OP? Does he work for them, pretending its a scam then regurgitating their line, helping in the initial phase of their fraud, loudly introducing bad robots?

Re:Time warp? (1)

BadgerRush (2648589) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979203)

These surgeries are safer and less painful than traditional gut-opening ones. ...

So while some are no doubt botched, overall people are better with than without, a net gain.

You cannot say that all robot surgeries are better and safer because that is not true. This new surgical technique has different pros and cons, reduces some risks but increases others, so it's use needs to be evaluated (epidemiological studies) for each kind of surgery in order to assert if it is beneficial for that kind of surgery. New things are not better just because they are new, they need to be tested and proven.

An example from a couple of years ago, some studies shown that robot prostate cancer surgery decreased the risk of in-hospital complications, but increased the risk of impotence and incontinence. So in this case (prostate cancer) robot surgery does not shows a clear net gain.

That robot piece (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978539)

Looks like something straight out of The Onion..

Re:That robot piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979575)

With that website title, I thought maybe J. J. Abrams was getting into a new line of work.

http://www.badrobot.com/

Duh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978557)

It was never a smart idea to put our healthcare systems in the hands of for profit corporations...

It can only end one way. Badly for the consumer.

The whole insurance angle is yet another layer on top of all that too. And drives up our prices to insane levels.

Re:Duh... (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979589)

This

And as a result, 60% of bankruptcies in America occur because of your bat shit crazy insurance system.

And before someone tells me it's because of government regulation, please explain to me how come a completely government regulated system (ie socialised/universal healthcare) costs half what America pays?

Re:Duh... (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979685)

Because the same people that are bankrupt in the US are DEAD in your country. That's why...

There are robots and robots. (5, Informative)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978581)

The robots in robot surgery are not the same as the robots in Isaac Asimov. A DaVinci robot has no autonomy at all, but is really just telepresence, an extension of the surgeon's hands and eyes. If anything goes wrong, it is the surgeon who is ultimately at fault (baring any mechanical or electrical problems, which I don't think they are alleging).

The BadRobotSurgery.com lawyers must know this; their web site sounds like it has all of he subtlety and morality of a Karl Rove political ad campaign.

And, of course, none of this really seems to have anything to do with unnecessary ,medical procedures.

Re:There are robots and robots. (0, Flamebait)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978677)

their web site sounds like it has all of he subtlety and morality of a Karl Rove political ad campaign.

Well then at least it is more honest and upfront than a David Axelrod political ad campaign (or any of the anti-billionaire ads from organizations sponsored by George Soros).

Re:There are robots and robots. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978825)

The robots in robot surgery are not the same as the robots in Isaac Asimov. A DaVinci robot has no autonomy at all, but is really just telepresence, an extension of the surgeon's hands and eyes.

If they don't have any autonomy at all, they aren't robots. If they do any of their own interpretation of their instructions (deciding how to carry them out) then they are not only robots, but also have some autonomy.

Re:There are robots and robots. (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978905)

their web site sounds like it has all of he subtlety and morality of a Karl Rove political ad campaign.

But it's the top Surgery Website of 2012! It says so right on the front page. You must have missed that.

Liability is backward-looking (4, Informative)

hessian (467078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978629)

No doctor wants to be on the stand in a courtroom and get asked:

"So, if you'd just done this one easy surgery, the dear deceased might be with us today?"

Inevitably, it ends up looking like the doctor wanted to "save money" by avoiding a $100 test or $500 surgery and that's what killed poor dearly departed.

Also, an order has suppressed evidence that the dearly departed was 500 lbs and smoked 4 packs a day while eating nothing but cheesburgers with bacon.

That kills the cost curve. So does the paperwork, which has hospitals hiring more paper-pushers than doctors and nurses. All of this stuff is backward looking, designed to avoid that one moment in trial where it sounds to 12 half-awake people that maybe the rich evil doctor just didn't care enough.

Re:Liability is backward-looking (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978731)

Bullshit, because what really happens is he does the test, does the unneeded prostate surgery on a 65 year old and then when the patient dies on the table nothing happens to the DR. He goes on to perform more unneeded tests and surgeries to get his cut.

Do you know how rare a DR is that will even suggest maybe just letting nature takes its course is the best?

Re:Liability is backward-looking (4, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978801)

Exactly this. I'm a fan of Doctor Grumpy, who's made his opinions [blogspot.com] pretty clear. There's always some doctor willing to testify that some test was obviously needed to find some rare condition with no visible symptoms. Those "unnecessary" tests are indeed necessary - not for the patient's safety, but for the doctor's.

Re:Liability is backward-looking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979555)

Exactly this. I'm a fan of Doctor Grumpy, who's made his opinions [blogspot.com] pretty clear. There's always some doctor willing to testify that some test was obviously needed to find some rare condition with no visible symptoms. Those "unnecessary" tests are indeed necessary - not for the patient's safety, but for the doctor's.

While we're at it, can you get the state off my back and make them stop telling me I need to by car insurance? The overwhelming majority of car trips never involve an accident but the American public is made to spend trillions of dollars each and every year for something that is so patently "unnecessary"!

Re:Liability is backward-looking (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979051)

no, there is something called a standard of care. if a patient has symptoms, you do some tests and try to make a diagnosis. there are books that tell you what you have to do depending on the symptoms.

i know of people who filed medical malpractice suits and nothing happened. at best they might have been given a little money to make them go away. its not as easy as it sounds and those big winnings you read about is 1% of all cases at best. most of the scammers i know made more money in auto insurance injury scams. winning in a medical malpractice suit is hard and most times the doctor has to do something that is careless and against what he is supposed to do

to file a case the lawyer subpeonas the medical records and may exhume the body for another autopsy. you have to find something in the chart that proves the doctor did something wrong based on the patient's condition to have a chance to get past summary judgement.

Re:Liability is backward-looking (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979579)

there are books that tell you what you have to do depending on the symptoms.

And how many malpractice juries have read those books? How many even have the vaguest notion of which books those *are*?

Exactly none, that's how many.

And the prosecution *will* have a expert witness--certified by the court and everything!--testifying that the test was clearly indicated and would've saved the dearly departed. No matter what the book says.

Re:Liability is backward-looking (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979735)

And the doctor's attorney will have the book and make the phony "medical expert" look like the fraud that he is.

Re:Liability is backward-looking (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980927)

And the doctor's attorney will have the book and make the phony "medical expert" look like the fraud that he is.

And the "phony medical expert" will have his own book. The jury won't know the difference.

Re:Liability is backward-looking (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979963)

It is easy to say that x% of work is unnecessary. What is hard to identify, before the fact, is which of this work is unnecessary. Take flu vaccine. A few percent of recipients will experience some reaction, some severe. Many probably do not require the vaccine. Yet we do not say that "30% of the money spent on flu vaccine is wasted."

OTOH, some treatments and testing is found to be ineffective or unnecessary in most cases. Lawsuits and the revenue generated from the procedures can provide resistance to the elimination of these procedures. Treatment of some slow growing cancers is one of these. Pap smears and mammograms is another.

Then there is the whole pharmacy industry that depends on people solving problems through drugs rather than discipline and life style changes..

Overall I think it is good for doctors to look at procedures they might be overusing, and a legal framework that allows and encourages them to modify their behavior. Not necessarily because it will save money, but because it can increase safety and allow us to focus on effectiveness.

Re:Liability is backward-looking (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980253)

Inevitably, it ends up looking like the doctor wanted to "save money" by avoiding a $100 test or $500 surgery and that's what killed poor dearly departed.

$100 test? $500 surgery? What doctor do you go to, a free clinic? The last $500 "surgery" I had was the doctor removing a couple of skin tags with a pair of nips and putting on a band aid. Office visits start at $96 at our family doctor's office. I had 3 CTs several years ago within 48 hours for cracked skull and subdural hematoma and each were over $1000 just for the hospital fee, not including the radiologist looking at it. A basic lipids profile and A1C for my diabetes gets billed to insurance at nearly $200.

The tests that are being recommended can be orders of magnitude greater than $100. And no real surgery is going to come in at $500.

They aren't saying don't perform tests. In most of the recommendations, they are saying don't perform frequent tests for people who don't show any symptoms, non-specific symptoms, or have other factors that wouldn't change the outcome if something was detected now or several years down the road if/when other symptoms become present.

Healthcare cost concern?? (2, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978645)

If they are so concerned with healthcare costs, then why is the exploding number of non-medical administrative personnel ever mentioned?

When I lived in a certain large Midwestern city the medical office I went to contained about two financial office personnel for every medical staff person.

Of course one reason is that they have to have a staff to fight the insurance companies at every turn... but no one will ever talk about that.

Yes... there are medical procedures that do not need to be done, but the problem is like so many in everyday life: there is a huge number of high end administration that don't do squat and make huge salaries.

Re:Healthcare cost concern?? (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978881)

Of course one reason is that they have to have a staff to fight the insurance companies at every turn... but no one will ever talk about that.

This fight works to increase the bottom line for the medical office/clinic/hospital, the insurance company, and the lawyers. Too bad it does nothing for the child with leukemia or her now-bankrupt family, but hey, that large midwestern city probably wouldn't ever elect a Tea Party candidate, so it must be their fault. Putting medical decisions in the hands of accountants and lawyers is batshit crazy. Of course, one could say the same thing about most fields of endeavor. It all started to go wrong when we first elected lawyers to write the laws. It puts them in a terrible conflict of interest.

Re:Healthcare cost concern?? (2)

pnutjam (523990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979763)

Blowing all my mods to call out your Tea Party endorsement. I have lived in two conservative wonderlands, Grand Rapids, MI and Indianapolis, IN. Both are full of Tea Partiests and were major stops in Sara Palin's book tour.

In my local government the Democrats didn't even bother to run although there were some challenges to the Repubs from super conservatives.
I have seen nothing to indicate that any of these super conservatives want to save money, decrease bureaucracy, or really make any changes that don't line their pocket (WHEN THEY ARE IN POWER, they will lie like dogs when they are trying to get power). There are just as many over staffed medical offices and sales people/insurance people sucking us dry.

Administrative burden (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978975)

If they are so concerned with healthcare costs, then why is the exploding number of non-medical administrative personnel ever mentioned?

It gets mentioned a lot. Seriously. I'm married to a doctor and everyone involved is very, very, very well aware of the problem. That does not mean it is a simple problem to fix however. Electronic medical records will help a lot in the long run but getting the vast amount of very complicated paperwork and related processes automated is no trivial feat.

there is a huge number of high end administration that don't do squat and make huge salaries.

Not in medical office administration there isn't. Medical office workers get paid quite poorly for the most part.

Re:Administrative burden (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979849)

They do get paid poorly, but there are afew that get paid well. Usually they work for larger hospitals. These are the ones you see in articles and their wages are touted by the schools that churn out people hoping to make a living sucking the cream out of the middle of our financial transactions.
In general, if you work for a hospital you can make money, waste money, and/or be incompetent. They don't care or their layers of bureaucracy are too thick to allow change. If you work for a doc it's hit or miss. Some take care of their staff and retain top notch individuals. Some pay crap and have desk staff that are incompetent jerks.

Re:Healthcare cost concern?? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980835)

It worries me a lot that when he says, "We are very concerned" he follows it up with "the rising cost." Did he say he is concerned about the patients life? Did he say he is concerned about dangers of unnecessary procedures? Apparently the cost is foremost in his mind.

Robot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978671)

Are those medical robots actually even robots? Do they automatically do anything? My understanding is they require a doctor to use them, so they are more like arm/eye enhancements.

I just checked wikipedia, but i don't count human controlled (remote or directly) devices robots (unless it's temporary obviously). In my book a robot needs to do something automatically.

Anyway, because doctors control these whatevers, how is it a problem with the whatevers? Unless they aren't accurate enough, the fault is in the one controlling the thing. Maybe those doctors shouldn't use those devices, if they aren't capable.

Didn't bother to read the link about the subject, because it's probably just some FUD, because they are afraid they'll be replaced by robot doctors.

Where is circumcision? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978673)

I don't need to see the list to know it's not there. Where is routine infant male genital mutilation? You want to save a quick $300 bucks? And possibly thousands more as I've had to spend OUT OF MY OWN POCKET to deal with complications?

For fuck's sake.

Re:Where is circumcision? (2)

erikvcl (43470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42981293)

Absolutely! I made a comment to mention this as well.

I stopped reading (1)

danomatika (1977210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978683)

after "According to pigrabbitbear" ... Is it just me or has the namespace of good available user / website names run out like IP4? CNN reporter floppypants456 bringing you breaking news!

Also, this smells suspiciously of manbearpig! He's real I tell you!

My buddy had neck cancer last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978687)

He went crazy and I did a lot of his research. He had TORS robotic surgery on his tonsil and tongue base. Allows surgeons to do things that they could NEVER do by hand and avoid little things like fucking splitting your jawbone in half to gain access. It allows them to get clean margins and preserve muscles used for little things like swallowing. 2 things I learned after this. #1 Don't go down on a woman unless you know her HPV status and #2 Robots are the future of surgery.

Re:My buddy had neck cancer last year (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978821)

#2's not quite right. Really, robots are the future of almost everything.

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Doctors will fight automation hard.. (3, Interesting)

xtal (49134) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978733)

The same robots that can assemble iphones will be able to do open heart surgery.. except many, many times faster. The same cameras that provide high speed film will be able to drive high speed image recognition of what needs fixing, in multiple spectrums, in real-time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KxjVlaLBmk [youtube.com]

That is one lab in Japan, and it's several years old. The state of the art in this technology is nothing short of breathtaking. It's being driven by cheap processing time. 50 years of computer science (real computer science) on vision systems is now all coming to life.

What's the problem? Well.. it will render advanced surgeries a commodity. Doctors have egos worse than fighter pilots, and you just wait until drones and computer piloted autonomous planes start shooting down the real deal. It's over then. Doctors are not stupid people, and the smarter ones are realizing this now.

Robotic surgeries will dramatically improve life for millions of people, and while there is a development curve, they will ultimately be superior in every way, as sure as hand-milling was replaced by CNC equipment.

Exciting times we live in.

Re:Doctors will fight automation hard.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979219)

you have no concept of what a robotic surgery is

you're wrong (2)

carlcmc (322350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979273)

what robots can do is achieve automation is standard settings. No two patients anatomy is exactly alike. Common wisdom in surgical culture is that any monkey or individual can do a simple surgery. That is not what you need people for. You need people for the *judgement* of what to do in certain situations. To appropriately assess and make the right medical judgement during surgery when someone's life is on the line is not something that will be done autonomously by robots.

Re:you're wrong (1)

xtal (49134) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979339)

[quote]
To appropriately assess and make the right medical judgement during surgery when someone's life is on the line is not something that will be done autonomously by robots.
[/quote]

You see, there's what you dont understand.

Stupid robots, yes. Ones with expert systems, no. Expert systems have been demonstrated to be superior in a number of clinical settings, and they're only going to get better as machines get faster.

Ultimately there will be surgeries that can only be performed automatically as they'll be beyond the capabilities of humans to execute. This brings to mind the recent advances in laser vision correction, but that's just the start.

The medical business fights automation of any sort kicking and screaming here; not so in other countries, so that is where the technology will be proven.

Re:Doctors will fight automation hard.. (1)

bobaferret (513897) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979513)

wow, that's just awesome. I'm particularly impressed by the knot tying. The idea that these systems can adjust to dynamic an unpredictable situations is flat out amazing.

Re:Doctors will fight automation hard.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42980127)

To preface this, I am a ER doctor and a former systems administrator.

Exciting times indeed. I don't understand the excitement behind the idea that tech and robots will replace doctors everywhere and anywhere be it Watson, this hand robot, or anything else for that matter. Do you really want an autonomous robot making the clinical and/or surgical decision in the OR, ER, or elsewhere? Think about the complexities involved in determining the spectrum of disease, the individual and unique patient, and the sign and symptoms before you and yet the adoration for the robots?

Doctors do have egos and some do use it to treat patients, staff, and others around them badly. Doctors have egos (whether they will admit it or not) because the many years of training have put them in a position of caring for patients on a daily basis and sometimes it's a matter of life or death. While many believe that having an ego is inherently a bad thing, I would like to point out that it can also be a benefit. An ego is having confidence in your training, skills, and ability to diagnose, treat, and possibly cure. You can have an ego and still be humble, provide great care, and have excellent bedside manner but the opposite is also true unfortunately.

As an ER doctor whose patients are truly sick with worried family members around the bedside, to not show confidence in what you are doing does not instill confidence in either the nursing staff, the patient, family members, and also yourself. It is the ego that says you can do this and press forward with the patient's medical and/or surgical management.

Anyway, that my two cents.

Take off the tinfoil (1)

martas (1439879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980245)

Within the foreseeable future no doctor is going to be replaced by machines. Some nurses, lab technicians and orderlies might lose their jobs to robots, but not one doctor will. Machines will simply allow for higher quality care. There is no incentive for doctors to fight robots (except possibly some irrational "when I was your age" get-off-my-lawning). The second story is purely about the work of a bunch of unethical ambulance chasing lawyers out to make a quick buck through frivolous lawsuits and FUD, not some conspiracy between doctors that are afraid their jobs will be outsourced to I Robot.

AYO (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978813)

All Your Organs Are Belong To Us.

In the interst of keeping doctors relevent....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42978915)

.....and to continue to keep money flowing into thier pockets.
We as an industry have decided to provide less care for patients.

Huh? (3, Insightful)

pesho (843750) | about a year and a half ago | (#42978941)

Why is an injury lawyer’s marketing campaign posted at all on Slashdot, let alone next to an unrelated LA time article? The article quoted in the second part of the post actually says exactly the opposite of what the post states. Does anybody on slashdot know what 'editor' means? What grades did the slashdot editors get on reading and comprehension on elementary school?

Re:Huh? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979371)

Did an 'article' about a blog post by misleading, ambulance chasing, grief abusing malpractice attorney really survive the firehose? Seriously? Or did an editor just tack that on for fun on his own? I love Slashdot, I really do. But this is messed up to the point of being downright disturbing.

Doctor! What's Wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979003)

Ineffective flu vaccines. Unnecessary surgery. Dangerous "better" robotic surgery.

Doctor, what's wrong with your field? It's as if you're just in it for the money.

Re:Doctor! What's Wrong? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42982405)

Ineffective flu vaccines. Unnecessary surgery. Dangerous "better" robotic surgery.

Doctor, what's wrong with your field? It's as if you're just in it for the money.

If you're getting the bulk of your medical advice from Slashdot you are dangerously ill (informed).

Time Magazine has an article as well (3, Insightful)

archer, the (887288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979009)

In it, they report uninsured patients get charged 11x what would be allowed if the patient qualified for Medicare. It used to be health insurance companies would be able to get rates 20% to 30% over the Medicare rate. Now, because of hospital consolidation, the insurance companies are being forced to pay 5x the Medicare rate. The author wasn't able to find any actual financial reason for the markup. (Things like, $1.50 for an acetaminophen pill, when a bottle of 100 costs $1.50. Or a blood glucose test strip costing $18, when supermarkets sell them for $0.60.)
Here's the article. [time.com]

single player (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979435)

single player will fix that

Commute Cost (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42981275)

Or a blood glucose test strip costing $18, when supermarkets sell them for $0.60

Someone needed to be sent to the supermarket to buy that 1 glucose test strip. I can imagine the cost of person's time and commute coming upto $17.40 at least.

For the IT crowd (1)

carlcmc (322350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979217)

From health care professional standpoint:

Blaming robots for bad surgical outcomes is like blaming PCs for a virus or an accidentally deleted system file.

Surgeons are people. People have the ability to make mistakes. If you make a mistake with your computer, you lose some photos, or trash your hard drive etc.
If you make an accidental mistake as a surgeon -- whether done open or robotically -- bad things happen to people.

Thus, just like on here people say IANAL and that you should get *good* legal advice. You should go to surgeons that a large experience. With more experience, there is less chance of bad outcomes happening.

LOL unnecessary (3, Informative)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979277)

I'm not even remotely surprised that 30% of medical advice / treatment is waste. I have to see a lot of doctors for a very weird condition I have and the amount of time they either recommend a MRI ( I've had like 7 ) or EEG ( I've had like 5 ) or another costly and redundant medical test is amazing. I even have cases where one doctor will order a MRI, EEG and SLEEP STUDY only to refer me to a doctor who will run the EXACT same tests.

Now even if I don't focus on the random testing they do which is massively overkill, they like to give me medicine like it's going out of style. I so far over the last 5 years have been switched on and off maybe 20 high power level nerve medications, all of which run a steep price tag and have a HUGE health risk attached. In some cases they will give me some super power new nerve med which will give me a new issue which they will order tests and new meds to treat!!!

I think my GP says it best 3/4 of the time, "Fuck off and shut up, If it's not causing at least a 7 /10 issue in your life lets drop it". He's right, if you can live with what you have and you don't need medical treatment then just don't get it. The human body is able to treat itself fairly well, doctors should only be called in when you body can't help, instead of the current model where you sneeze and all of a sudden need a MRI, Vaccination, Med leave from work, Clean room and Cancer tests.

Re:LOL unnecessary (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979901)

Well, people have to get their pain pills.
because their drug addicts...

Re:LOL unnecessary (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980003)

Pain pills are handed out like candy, I personally hate it. I have several bottles of pain killers on my fridge that I get prescribed every few months and I usually don't take any of them. I think pain pills need to become MUCH MORE regulated, to the point that we really don't give enough of them to make the pain go away, only slim down bit.

Re:LOL unnecessary (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980207)

Yes, the sad fact is that people need to learn to deal with chronic pain. Medication is for short term pain management. Chronic pain requires other solutions.

Re:LOL unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42980467)

Yeah, it's so super useful to suffer pain to, it helps with: ...

Re:LOL unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42980985)

...letting you know something is seriously wrong in your life and that you need to change some habits to fix it. If you can't digest wheat, need 11 hours of sleep, type incorrectly, stand too long with poor foot placement/weight distribution, are allergic to common items, stare at things too closely, don't get the right nutrients for your body to manage and heal itself, etc... then change your life so those things no longer occur. Unless you're homeless or can't afford food, suck it up or change. Stop masking your problems with pills.

Re:LOL unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42981005)

I am not aware of any explicit benefit to chronic pain, but pain from injuries (and the specifics of the pain as well) is a major factor in triggerring the proper healing responses to deal with an injury. There are different reactions to large area surface abrasions with busted capilaries than to small, deep puncture wounds damaging a significant vein. The complexity of pain signals involved helps control which response happens.

As far as I have read, chronic pain is either a constant reminder of some sort of injury that does not heal, or a functional defect in the relevant nerves. In at least those two types, the pain itself seems to have no benefit, but using general pain killers will also numb other injuries and reduce or prevent the proper feedback cycle. Until you can resolve the root of the chronic pain (which may not be possible without major medical advances), you are left having to decide how to balance difficulties.

(total aside: getting poked in the deeper skin levels without the normally matching sensation of a blade through the upper skin levels is a really wierd sensation)

Re:LOL unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42981085)

If you usually don't take any of them then why the hell don't you stop filling those prescriptions?!?

Assholes like you are part of why people who do need pain medication have such a hard time receiving it.

Re:LOL unnecessary (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42982619)

Pain pills are handed out like candy, I personally hate it. I have several bottles of pain killers on my fridge that I get prescribed every few months and I usually don't take any of them. I think pain pills need to become MUCH MORE regulated, to the point that we really don't give enough of them to make the pain go away, only slim down bit.

Dude, you could be selling those on Silk Road and be making a ton of bitcoins. What a waste. Can I have the name of your doctor who is handing out pain pills like candy? I'd like to see him. My doctor is stingy with them, but is willing to prescribe a very small amount when it is obvious that I am in a huge amount of pain. But the last time I was in severe pain he refused. In the old days I would have switched doctors hoping to find one that actually gives a shit when I'm in pain, but nearly all of them are afraid to prescribe pain meds now. Partially because of people like you supporting the DEA and the war against sick people, err, I mean drugs. The DEA is now more in charge of patient care than doctors are. Reminds me of this story in that someone who is not a doctor believes that they can decide what is or is not necessary for a patient.

Know your fractions! (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979503)

The United States spends more than $2.5 trillion a year on healthcare, or more than $8,000 per person. That is 21/2 times as much as the average spent by other industrialized nations, according to data collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose members include the richest nations.

So is that...
...21 / 2 = 10.5 times as much?
...2 + 1/2 = 2.5 times a much?
...a Kingdom Hearts Sequel [mobygames.com] ?

Don't worry! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979571)

The superb medical insurance system in the US will keep costly surgical procedures to a minimum!

USA! USA! USA!

Lotsa serious complications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42979653)

It's true that you don't exactly know what is going to happen to the patient when the robot has a BSOD,or the machine was too busy folding proteins in the background to maintain it's foreground responsibilities. Or maybe the robot became too concerned about the 4 laws, and had trouble deciding what was best for the patient, even though the doctor gave it instructions. Or maybe the robot becomes interested in harvesting bitcoins, or develops a passion for automated trading... Maybe the antivirus software suddenly doesn't want to run the latest stiching program because it is not whitelisted at symantec yet. Or it is spending too mich time on Facebook. :-)

Bad Robot Surgery? (1)

EZLeeAmused (869996) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979721)

Where is J.J. Abrams with the trademark infringement suit?

Re:Bad Robot Surgery? (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year and a half ago | (#42982571)

I did injure that patient but in my defense I was temporarily blinded by a huge lens flare...

I have an opposite problem (3, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42979851)

My problem is the opposite: it's not about the unnecessary stuff, it's about the cheap, non-invasive things they could do that they stay away from like if it was a transplant or something. My pregnant wife had to spend a couple of hours bleeding in the ER for a clueless resident to finally pick up the ultrasound and tell us "well, there's an apparently intact fetus with a beating heart, stuff happens, no need for a cleanup surgery, go home". They were already setting up an OR for a D&C -- what kind of an idiot does that before doing a basic ultrasound that takes 60 second start-to-finish?!

Another story: I have a solid family history (with tombstones and documented post-mortems to prove it) of plaque formation in coronary arteries, and the doofuses would drag their feet on noninvasive transthoracic ultrasounds of precisely the non-invasevely accessible parts of those arteries that were problematic in my family! I mean, come on, how stupid do you have to be.

Some guys I know decided they've had enough of bullshit and simply got an ultrasound for themselves to play with. It doesn't take 6 years of med school to do a decent doppler coronary artery exam. You simply need enough practice and access to rudimentary literature (and a modicum of intelligence). When you have the tool in your basement, you can get more hands-on time in a month than a resident gets in a year. Of course it helps if you're an engineer and can troubleshoot things and fix them when something breaks.

Re:I have an opposite problem (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42982491)

So now that you have the ultrasound machine, is your next step to look up how to make a do-it-yourself cath lab?

When you're done, be sure to post the results here.

Thanks, feminism! (0)

GungaDan (195739) | about a year and a half ago | (#42980017)

"annual Pap tests for middle-aged women â" may be necessary in some cases, but are often not beneficial and may even cause harm"

Does nobody here remember the wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments from the feminism industry when the study expressing the above findings re: annual pap smears was published? It was not that long ago. It's probably part of the current narrative of the mythological "war on women." How dare those study results conclude that the three times more Americans spend on women's healthcare than on men's may not all be entirely necessary?!? MISOGYNY! War on womyn! Won't somebody PLEASE think of the vaginas?

And so the unnecessary spending continues, the feminism industry secures more funding to make its hysterical voice heard, and no progress is made. Thanks, feminism!

Article forgot to mention... (2, Insightful)

erikvcl (43470) | about a year and a half ago | (#42981177)

... one of the most common unnecessary (and harmful) medical procedures. Male circumcision.

Fear continues to enjoy record sales (2)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about a year and a half ago | (#42982031)

As industries and ideologies have competed for the consumer's dollar, they have learned that almost nothing sells better than fear. Whether it's extra medical procedures, the law-and-order candidate, more insurance or 15-round magazines, a frightened customer is a willing customer.
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