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Critical Paper of Let's (Not) Get Physicals - Essay Example

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Critique of Let’s (Not) Get Physicals In the article “Let’s Not Get Physicals,” Elisabeth Rosenthal discusses the irrelevance of most medical physicals in America today. She uses three main aspects to make her point. First, she explains the uselessness and possible harm of the tests…
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Download file to see previous pages For example, she seems to shift blame for the situation to doctors and patients and leaves out key players such as the government and insurance companies. Rosenthal attempts to convince people on the need of not having physicals, especially when the checkups become recommended by doctors and then get approved by insurance companies. Rosenthal, at the beginning of her article, states that she completed medical training in late eighties. This may validate her ability to make distinguishing arguments for or against some medical checkup procedures. As such, she argues that various health tests are irrelevant and sometimes harmful to the patient. Her article reflects on tests that yield false positives on the first instance, therefore, facilitating the need for further tests. An example of convincingly harmful procedures includes X-rays which expose patients to radiation and over time can lead to health complications. Other medical tests such as blood screenings are intrusive and unnecessary. For instance, the United States Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend antigen specific blood screening to identify prostate cancer. Nonetheless, close to 80% of urologists still think it is necessary. Rosenthal cites studies by the Canadian government task force in 1979 that provide evidence on the irrelevance of the standard head-to-toe annual physical. The results from these studies show that the tests a) do not yield efficient diagnosis or results and b) may expose patients to harmful, intrusive procedures. However, the author does not clearly articulate whose fault it is that the tests are not accurate. Furthermore, Rosenthal’s thesis mentions potential harm to the patient, but she seems to fail in outlining the clear dangers of engaging in medical checkups. In her article, Rosenthal speaks of how some procedures are pointless and need to be wiped out from the medical practice. In addition, she insists of some laboratory tests being useless as moreso end up giving false positives hence hindering diagnosis of the real diseases. Furthermore, she continues by mentioning the pointless nature of screening tests as some do not have any influence on the progression of a disease in illnesses that do not have effective treatment. She goes further to give an example of how CT scan can be harmful to a patient through the radiation that it emits, though medical personnel still use it. She emphasizes that there are quite a number of procedures and tests used in diagnosis and screening of certain diseases, but in real sense, also contribute in causing harm to that given patient. Moreover, Americans spend well over 300 billion dollars on unnecessary tests or treatment each year. Rosenthal also quotes Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who estimates that unneeded blood tests alone consume close to 325 million dollars a year. The excessive amounts of money spent on medical checkups reflect on the agenda of most doctors and hospitals. Rosenthal reports that doctors and hospitals prefer that patients spend more during medical visits because this is a sure way of making a profit. Another contributor to the inflating cost of healthcare is insurance. This article claims that medical insurance ends up paying large portions of bills for patients with coverage. This economic stimulus is dangerous ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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