One Second Away: When an Injury Means a CT Scan

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You only have to look away for one second. You’re doing everything right to childproof your house. You have protectors in every light socket, every cabinet secured, and child gates keeping your kid from any dangerous part of the house. Your cleaning supplies are kept on a high shelf in the laundry room, where there is no way the kids can get to them. But it can still happen to you. You look away for one second, and your child is bumping his head on a corner or a piece of furniture.

Now, you follow the rules and check your child for any signs of a concussion or other severe injury. Sometimes it’s clear the kid will suffer nothing more than a nice-sized knot on the head. Sometimes it’s clear that something is very wrong, such as if the child is suddenly sleepy or vomiting. Sometimes it’s less clear, and so we load our child in the car and take them to the ER.

This, sadly, is where the greatest danger sometimes lies. Most Americans do not know enough about medical procedures to be able to determine what tests are actually necessary when it comes to emergency treatment for a child. Many healthcare professionals who are parents still do not have all the answers. We listen to the emergency room doctor, and sometimes that’s always not the right thing to do, especially when it comes to CT scans of the head. Consider that:

  • At least half of all CT scans of the head are unnecessary, according to the journal Pediatrics.
  • CT scans lead to 27,000 cases of cancer a year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • A CT scan subjects an individual to hundreds of times as much radiation as an x-ray.
  • CT scans can be very profitable for the hospital where they are performed, providing an incentive for unnecessary tests.

If you or someone you love had a CT scan and went on to develop cancer or another side effect, it can be difficult to determine whether the unnecessary radiation was the cause. If you do not know the right questions to ask or the right people to ask those questions, contact a qualified attorney to help you get the answers you need.