Emergency patients, take note: before you get a pulmonary artery catheter stuck in you, ask your doctor if he's passed the test.
The average score of a 3l question multiple choice exam administered to nearly 500 doctors in l3 hospitals in the states about the use of the pulmonary artery catheter was 67 per cent, or about a C in most universities.The test examined the doctor's knowledge of how and how often to insert it and what to make of the data derived from it. PACs are use to diagnose and treat seriously ill patients.
"Given the variability in physician understanding of the pulmonary artery catheter, we believe that credentialing policies should be reevaluated and that consideration should be given to restricting its use to individuals with documented competency," the report concluded.
Even more chilling was the offhanded note that: "Potential for significant morbidity related to use of the PAC has also been demonstrated," Translation into English: this piece of equipment can kill you.