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Feb 11, 2013

Snapshots of Low-Value Medical Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, Center for Evidence-based Practice, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(3):186-187. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1532

Have you ever had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of your brain? I have. I was lying on a plank in my underwear and a hospital gown, with a cold peripheral intravenous (IV) line in my arm and a woolen blanket draped over me. A plastic cage was closed on my face to steady my head, and headphones with thick cushions covered my ears, playing the Dave Matthews Band inaudibly. I was slid into a narrow tube where I was rattled by a deep pulsating buzz. It was suffocating. Normally I would have torn off the headgear, kicked off the blanket, and run to escape. But I couldn’t. I took the time to get this test, so I wanted to ensure it was “motion artifact” free. The test continued for 30 minutes. I had moments of calm punctuated by blips of terror. I wanted to scream. How did I get here?

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