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Medical Testing-Reply

Edward R. Pinckney, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(10):2014-2015. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350100198046.
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In Reply.  —While the majority of reactions to the COMMENTARY have been supportive of the need to establish standards to classify medical tests as either worthwhile, useless, or somewhere in between, one particular thorn in the rhetoric seems to have pricked some apparently paranoid clinical pathologists, to wit: they challenge the contention that one of every seven medical tests is either in error or unreliable. It seems that the complainants first transmogrify the word medical into laboratory and then protest too much. Although one cited, albeit disputed, reference referred primarily to errors in laboratory testing, the COMMENTARY clearly stipulated all forms of medical tests; the laboratory does not stand alone as the citadel of diagnostic support.While the deputy director of the CDC bureau of laboratories who proffered the disputed laboratory test error rate subsequently did concede he made an error in his calculations and interpretations of one particular non-CDC


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