You got an MRI for a stress fracture?

There's a new article in the NYTimes that talks about the error rate in MRIs. The article is written fairly well, but totally misses the mark. Why?

The story says that MRIs have variable quality based on who reads them--sure--and that if your MRI is read by someone inexperienced it might miss something. OK. Then it quotes someone from U Mass who says 'we don't miss things because we have a 3 tesla MRI and radiologists who only read musculoskeltal MRIs', essentially. I'm guessing on the 3 tesla thing but I'm sure U Mass has at least one, probably more.

So? So, the author had a new stress fracture. OMG! Get an MRI! Have it read by a specialist at an academic medical center! Or, take a plain film to ensure adequate alignment, and put your foot in a boot with close primary care follow-up. Good God. To be fair, she finally gets around to the idea that we rely on scans too much and should just talk to the patient, but it's buried at the end. No wonder we spend trillions.

Meanwhile people living on Indian reservations in New Mexico don't even have an ambulance within 30 minutes, let alone an Emergency Room.

The scariest part? It was the number 1 e-mailed article of the day. I guess I'll brace for MRI requests.

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