CT Scans Carry Risks for Children, Study Posits
If there is a risk that a test or procedure done now will cause problems for a loved one later, should you put them through it? There is always a decision to be made with medicine, it seems. What if the decision relates to your child?
The problem is that doctors, though they won't admit it, a good part of the time are flying in the dark. Medicine is more an art than a science. Mistakes, countless mistakes (probably in the millions by this point if you consider human history's medical advancements like bleeding which often killed the patient) have been made because of "medical certainty," which was actually medical stupidity and ignorance.
In our current time when profit margins enter into the equation and we are the subjects the doctors PRACTICE (since there is no certainty with medications, devices, etc., surgeries, and Murphy's Law prevails) upon, we must be circumspect and question their judgment. So when the profession itself comes forward with research weighing information for us, we must be alert and take it to heart. It is not as if this is the typical medical MO. Usually, like willing guinea pigs, we find out about dire consequences related to medications and devices after people have died.
Such may be the case with CT scans. Today researchers reported that children who had CT scans of the head had a small but increased risk of later leukemia and brain cancer. But the risk increase is small and is outweighed by the clinical benefit of the scanning, according to Mark Pearce, PhD, of Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne in England, and colleagues who discussed the matter in the British medical journal,The Lancet. It is one circumstance if a child is in terrific pain, holds his head, moans and has terrible chronic headaches and it appears that something is pressing on his brain. It is another if he fell and may have hit his head, but is completely fine and shows no demonstrable signs of a concussion. In the first instance, the benefit is clear, the scanning should be done; in the second instance, probably not.
It always comes down to whether a test is justified and what is the risk/reward ratio. But does anyone really know to a certainty? No. And that is where the art of medicine and the parents' judgment comes into play. But research may be able to help parents come to a more informed decision.