A few weeks ago, I, unfortunately, came down with a urinary tract infection. It was bad enough to prompt me to visit my local GP who proceeded to inform me of the rare nature of this kind of infection in males. Urine was taken and a check for STDs for good measure. I left the doctor that day with a prescription for antibiotics, which I rarely take. My temperature got up to 39c on that day so I took a few panadol to lower it.
A few days later the infection had spread to my kidney and I promised my doctor I would go to the emergency department at the hospital if my condition did not improve. The pain felt like it was coming from my groin area and it was affecting my ability to walk comfortably. The wait in the emergency department wasn’t too bad thanks to the 2 Nurofen tablets I was given by the triage nurse. Eventually, after having blood taken, I ended up in a short stay bed.
I was told I would need a CT scan to find out if I had any kidney stones. Hesitantly, I had the scan which turned out to be negative for kidney stones. The radiologist informed me that I had received the equivalent of 300 normal x-rays which to me seemed like far too many and unnecessary. I don’t know much about radiation, but I do know your cells and DNA do not like it and can lead to mutations if damaged cells are not repaired or eliminated properly.
This got me to thinking about how many unnecessary CT scans are performed on people who leave the hospital in worse shape than when they arrived. Are hospitals doing more damage to our health by starting a chain of events that one day may turn into something life threatening like cancer? Are our bodies able to handle the stress of ionizing radiation from a CT scan?