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May 1971

On Indiscriminate Use of Laboratory Facilities

Arch Surg. 1971;102(5):535. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1971.01350050101030

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"A checkup barium enema is something one orders only for his mother-in-law." J. Englebert Dunphy made this rather startling statement in a panel discussion. We concur in the point that he made about thoughtless ordering of tests which might not really be necessary. As we reflect upon practices on our own services and sister services in our hospitals, and when serving as guest faculty making rounds and ward walks in other institutions, we are stimulated to exclaim "stop and think."

In early training we were drilled in the use of a thorough, careful physical examination. Today, one occasionally mourns the demise of this priceless element. It is quite evident why surgical neophytes might feel it mandatory to turn constantly to the laboratory facilities for a daily report of a great number of tests. There is always the urge for academic advancement. Then, too, the conscientious resident may harbor a mounting

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