“Why bother?”


White_square_with_question_markWhy bother doing a diagnostic test on a patient if there is no specific treatment?

That question is certainly very plausible now. For example multiplex respiratory PCRs are available which diagnose a whole range of respiratory viruses, in real time, for which no specific treatment is available. Ditto that for enteric viral PCRs.

There are a few possible retorts…..

When the diagnosis is established:

  • it may prevent further unnecessary investigation.
  • it may prevent further unnecessary treatment.
  • it may allow earlier discharge.
  • it may have infection control implications (isolation, cohorting etc)

It is a simple and fundamental question. However we often think of the answer in simplistic and fundamental terms.



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