The unbearable rightness of bedside rationing: Physician duties in a climate of cost containment.

  • Peter Ubel
  • Arnold RM

A local internist is in the process of ordering an intravenous pyelogram for a patient she suspects of having kidney problems, when a medical student shadowing her in clinic interrupts. The student wants to know why the physician is not ordering a low-osmolality contrast agent for the patient, having read that they are less likely to cause serious side effects than high-osmolality contrast agents. The physician realizes that the medical student is correct, but rejects the suggestion, telling the student that "low-osmolality contrast agents are the standard of care for low-risk patients."

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