A few days ago, a 42-year-old man was stopped by a state policeman because radiation coming from his vehicle was detected by a device in the patrol car. Earlier that day, he had undergone a cardiac stress test which involved the injection of a small amount of radioactive isotope into his body. He was released when he produced a doctor’s note stating he had undergone the test. [Full story here.]
Two things make this story interesting.
One, the report reveals the fact that many police cars have radiation detectors that are so sensitive that a man emitting a small amount of radiation while driving could be fingered as a possible terrorist. Despite my being a news junkie, I did not know that such detectors were deployed. Did you?
Now the terrorists know too. What is to stop them from bringing a nuclear weapon into a city now that they are aware of the existence of these detectors and that a note from a doctor can get one off the hook?
The second interesting point involves the stress test. The story says the man had what seems to have been a transient hypertension. There was no mention of any cardiac symptoms or a family history of heart disease. The man is employed as a fireman, a strenuous occupation.
Why was a nuclear stress test ordered?
I am a mere, “non-cognitive” surgeon, but I believe that an asymptomatic 42-year-old fireman with hypertension, episodic or not, does not need a cardiac stress test.
Do you wonder why we spend so much on health care in the United States?