Your article “Through a CT Scan Darkly” (July/August) addresses an important trend. A few months ago, I was struck with extreme pain in my left chest. Over four hours, I was subjected to a phalanx of tests, including a CAT scan that cost several thousand dollars. No one asked me to remove any clothing nor visually scanned my body. Although cleared of the possibility of a heart problem, there was no diagnosis and I left the ER with a prescription for pain medicine. Less than a week later, I had a repeat episode. Back to the ER, with a repeat of the first bank of tests. As the nurse was sticking the EKG electrodes to my chest (again without removing my shirt) I commented that I thought I had an allergic reaction to the cream used the previous time. She immediately recognized the rash on my chest as characteristic of shingles. The attending doctor concurred. A repeat CAT scan had already been ordered, and the doctor was not inclined to cancel it because, he said, “We just want to be sure we haven’t missed anything.” I objected, mentioning the exorbitant cost, and his response was, “Why do you care—your insurance will cover it.”
—Nik Worden, via email
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