Here's a small but pretty good example -- far from the whole reason, of course -- of why medical care costs so much:
Multidetector CT Should Be Standard of Care for Appendicitis
The symptoms of acute appendicitis are nonspecific, making preoperative diagnosis difficult from clinical findings alone. ... ...To reduce morbidity and mortality risks, it is desirable to have a low perforation rate at appendectomy, but this must be balanced against minimizing the rate of negative findings at appendectomy through appropriate patient selection.
Computed tomography (CT) has been used in an attempt to improve preoperative diagnosis of appendicitis, but there are few high-quality studies of its efficacy for this indication, particularly since the advent of multidetector CT (MDCT). Therefore, the objective of this study by Pickhardt and colleagues was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of MDCT in a large adult cohort with suspected acute appendicitis.
Study Synopsis and Perspective
MDCT is sensitive and specific and should be the standard of care for suspected appendicitis in adults, according to the results of an analysis of MDCT findings reported in the June 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. (coloring mine.)
"Nonspecific." Funny how things change. Not too many years ago, it was said that appendicitis is a clinical diagnosis, a bedside diagnosis. You listen to the story, do a two-buck lab test, you examine the patient. Carefully. In the majority of cases, it's pretty clear. When it's not, that's when you do more tests. When I was sure, based on the preceding steps, that the patient had appendicitis, I was never wrong (or, at least, it was always something that needed an operation.) (Okay, it's been a long career. I suppose I've forgotten one or two. But no more than the CT scan was wrong. In fact, I operated a couple of times when I wasn't convinced, clinically, got a CT which was interpreted as showing appendicitis, and found nothing.)