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Talk about an unsafe hospital practice. Over 4,000 echocardiograms (an ultrasound image of the heart used to detect abnormalities) performed at a New York hospital were never read by a cardiologist.

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Apparently, the hospital had no system in place to make sure the echos were reviewed by a physician - their system allowed technicians to review the results to determine if they were "normal." 

Many times an echocardiogram is ordered because shomeone is short of breath or has chest pain.  And at least some of the unread echos reviewed by cardiologists since this discovery showed abnormalities. 

I don't know about you but I want my echocardiogram (and my families' and friends' and clients' and co-workers' and neighbors' ) read by a physician, not a tech.  And I want my hospital to have a system that requires doctors to review the results of important medical tests.

Talk about needlessly endangering its patients and preventable medical errors.  Every hospital should have safety rules in place that make sure important test results are reviewed by doctors.

Read more about this at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/nyregion/27hospital.html

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