Dear N.Y. Times, I have this pain…

March 7th, 2009

Physicians who practice virtual colonoscopy ought to know their procedure has been called  ‘unproven’ in a NY Times editorial. Funny, I’ve been reading about it for years now in major medical journals touting reliable results. But, if the NY Times wants to offer me medical advice or decide whether a procedure is worthy of insurance reimbursement, well, I’ve got this pain…

Re: NY Times Editorial, “Evidence and Health Care Reform

Dear Dr. Editor,

Costs do not determine the appropriateness of a medical procedure like virtual colonoscopy. Physicians do, based upon deliberation of options for optimal outcomes. Immediate and delayed problems can occur from mechanical injury, anesthesia, infection and the use of particular agents during preparatory cleansing.

There are those of us who know patients who suffered adverse effects. I still miss my friend, very much.

By removing any procedure as an option for Medicare patients, you are tying the hands of those who are best qualified to make that determination. Austerity budgets have to be honest. Virtual colonoscopy is not unproven. If it is no longer reimbursed, let’s be honest about the reason.

My newspaper, the doctor! I’m so proud…

Barbara Rubin

Just a couple of references chosen at random on the topic:

UPDATE: Another virtue of virtual colonoscopy appears to be a reduction in the risks of contracting hepatitis and HIV. Thousands of patients, subjected to conventional colonoscopy procedures, have been required to undergo testing for these diseases after having this procedure performed with improperly sterilized equipment. May I cynically point out that if the conventional procedure began requiring the use of sterile operating rooms instead of outpatient or office quarters, we might see the scales tip in terms of recommendations for virtual exams given the increased costs involved?

Categories: Letters, NY Times

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