Children with serious injuries and illnesses often present a major challenge to physicians. Often, these patients are unable to explain where or what hurts, making it difficult to decide on the best way to treat the problems. As part of the examination, doctors will ask for several tests to be conducted, including CT scans, to learn more about the patient’s condition.
If the child has suffered a brain injury or other serious internal problem, the scan can show physicians the extent of the damage. CT scans provide the doctors with a very valuable tool that can help save time in emergency situations. However, there is concern that these types of tests may potentially cause health problems for the child later in life.
According to a study by researchers at the University of California Davis School of Medicine, there are still over 4 million CT scans ordered for children each year. This is expected to result in 5,000 cases of radiation cancer for some of those individuals receiving the scans.
The researchers are concerned that this number of CT scans is still relatively high, and that there are other options available in some cases. Ultrasounds can also be used to check for certain internal injuries, and are less risky to patient health.
Parents should ask physicians about the benefits provided by the CT scans, and if there are other tests that are less harmful to the child. It may be that this procedure is the only way that a treatment plan can be developed, but parents should have all the information they need to make an accurate decision concerning the care their child receives.
Those patients who have suffered because of the negligence of a healthcare professional should speak to a medical malpractice attorney about their case. These cases are often extremely complex, and it can be difficult to know how to proceed. Compensation may be available to those who have had significant injuries due to the negligent actions of medical professionals.
Source: Reuters, “Fewer CT scans for kids, but some still unnecessary,” Generva Pittman, June 11, 2013.