Medical Tests - What You Should Know

Should you have medical tests offered at health fairs? - Bear in mind that in one study, 2 out of every 5 tests (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.) had at least one false-abnormal test result at health fairs. If you test positive, you can waste a lot of money trying to refute or validate that result with your physician or health care practitioner.

Also remember that when you volunteer to take a medical test at a health fair, whoever administers the tests is under no obligation to warn you of related risks associated with the test(s).

What should you do if your health care practitioner suggests you have surgery or take medicine based on a medical test result? - Don’t worry about the results of one test, especially if it doesn’t agree with your symptoms. Just have the test performed by another practitioner in another office and compare the two. If necessary, have a third opinion. Most health insurance programs will pay for at least one second opinion; some pay for two.

What are your legal rights regarding medical testing? - Under the law, a mistake in medical testing is negligence on the part of the testing facility.

When you undergo a test, you the right to know it was conducted with absolute accuracy, what the test is supposed to detect, how well it should perform, any dangers, and what the results mean to you.

Remember: a clinical lab should repeat any test without charge if you feel the test does not reflect your symptoms or your health care practitioner’s suspicions.

Sources/Resources
Cathy Pinckney and Edward R. Pinckney, M.D. The Patient’s Guide to Medical Tests.

Barry L. Zaret, Peter I. Jetlow, and Lee D. Katz. Yale University School of  Medicine: Patient’s Guide to Medical Tests.

Hemingway, H, Chen R, Junghans C, Timmis A, Eldridge S, Black N, Shekelle P,  Feder G. Appropriateness criteria for coronary angiography in angina: reliability and validity. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008 Aug 19;149(4):221-31.

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Picano E, Lombardi M, Neglia D, Lazzeri M. Sustainability of medical imaging in cardiology Recent Progress in Medicine. 2006 Nov;97(11):652-62.

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Bowman SM, Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA, Sharar SR. The role of hospital profit status in pediatric spleen injury management. Medical Care. 2008 Mar;46(3):331-8.

Barrett B, Stiles M. What a fair and rational health system would look like. Western Medical Journal. 2007 Feb;106(1):9-11.

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