If a patient doesn’t get a test, does it make a sound?

    A patient gets a blood test. (Maiken Scott/WHYY)

    A patient gets a blood test. (Maiken Scott/WHYY)

    What responsibility do doctors have for following up on tests they order?

    I recently went to see a specialist who ruled out a health issue another doctor thought I might have based on some blood work I’d had done. And then this specialist suggested I should get more tests—more blood work.

    I decided against his suggestion for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I got a sense that this doctor was trying to punt my health issue on to another specialist. So I never got the testing done, and I never heard back from this doctor. I posted about the experience on Facebook because I was wondering whether physicians should follow up when they tell patients to get tested for something.

    This post somehow sparked a very heated debate between some of my friends who are physicians, and others who are patients.

    My doctor said it was my responsibility to take the next steps, not theirs. Some of my other friends felt that doctors often ordered tests as a way to make money.

    So I thought this would make for an interesting conversation with regular Pulse contributor Neda Frayha, because she’s an internist in Baltimore, Maryland, and in that capacity, she herself orders testing. I asked her: If patients don’t get a prescribed medical test done, do doctors care?

    Listen to the audio above.

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