A new diagnostic test presented at a U.S. medical conference that determines the probability of death within 30 days is being welcomed by doctors around the world.
“I had lots of nurses and doctors standing there saying, ‘We have been waiting for a tool like this for years. When can we start using it?’” said University of New South Wales researcher Dr. Magnolia Cardona-Morrel, who developed the test.
The CriSTAL test (Criteria for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate alternative care) has already been used in certain U.S. and Irish hospitals, but is not yet approved for general practitioners, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The test is easy to administer and the [answers] are readily available in the patient’s clinical records and it can be completed in five or 10 minutes,” Dr Cardona-Morrel said. “The score by no means decides the treatment.”
The developer of CriSTAL is hoping to make medical treatment more efficient and stop terminal patients from being put through unnecessary procedures and surgeries.
“Once the score is determined, the doctor could have a transparent conversation with the patient about their wishes,” Cardona-Morrel said.
The CriSTAL developer concluded that the tests would open conversations between physicians and their patients, particularly the elderly, regarding ongoing treatments and where they would prefer to die, according to The Morning Herald.
“Doctors are keeping people alive because they can,” Cardona-Morrel said. “Hospitals are full of elderly people living longer because technology allows it. A lot of them would like to die at home.”
Statements like these are raising the eyebrows of Obamacare skeptics who have warned about the dangers of subsequent “death panels.”
Close scrutiny will be paid by critics to see if the CriSTAL test is widely implemented, and is used as a cost-cutting measure instead of a tool to help the terminally ill.
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