“While the beneficial applications of X radiation in the healing arts are well recognized, exposures from diagnostic X-ray procedures have far more public health significance than exposures from all other man-made radiation sources.” said Charles C. Edwards, M.D., Food and Drug Commissioner during the Nixon administration. “More than 90 percent of all human exposure to man-made radiation comes from the diagnostic use of X-ray in contrast with about one per cent from radioactive discharges from nuclear power plants about which there has been so much public concern.” HEW News, October 9,1971
Diagnostic X-rays cause about 1000 cases of leukemia and breast cancer in the United States every year. This information was reported to a science writer’s seminar by a group of researchers.
More and more attention is being paid to the routine, unnecessary X-ray that not only adds to the harmful, cumulative nature of radiation but increases the cost of medical diagnostic screening. The annual cost is estimated at over two billion a year and one third of the X-rays are considered unnecessary by the Food & Drug Administration.
The doctor unfortunately worries about leaving himself open to a malpractice suit if he doesn’t order the routine X-rays which makes it imperative for the patient to assume responsibility for negating unnecessary routine X-rays. The delivery of medical care and patient’s expectations are in a state of confusion today because of the political and legal ramifications for the physician. This is why we have always promoted the idea of being a knowledgeable medical consumer and have urged patients to undertake a participatory and controlling role over their own bodies.
We feel the patient relieves the doctor of the hazards of malpractice suits and the patient receives unbiased medical care. In this way both patient and doctor benefit.