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October 17, 2001

Identifying Patients at Low Risk for Cervical Spine InjuryThe Canadian C-Spine Rule for Radiography

JAMA. 2001;286(15):1893-1894. doi:10.1001/jama.286.15.1893

One of the most challenging clinical issues for physicians who care for trauma patients involves the evaluation of possible cervical spine (C-spine) injury. Emergency physicians, trauma surgeons, and radiologists face the dilemma of having to evaluate low-risk patients while dealing with attempts at cost containment on the part of hospital administrators and third-party payers. In addition, the threat of a lawsuit for missed spinal injury has led many physicians to practice "defensive medicine," and consequently routinely obtain C-spine radiography for most trauma patients.

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