By Dr. Paul Ehrlich
Anyone who knows me, or has read our book or my other posts on this website, knows that I hate it when doctors allow their clinical judgment to lapse when prescribing a battery of allergy tests. To be fair, many doctors are very busy and when they order that blood be drawn, they may check a routine list. That said, some tests are clearly inappropriate for some patients. This particular pet peeve of mine found new expression the other day when a small Hasidic boy’s history included a positive reaction to PORK. How he was exposed to the “other white meat” (or as it is referred to in Israel “white steak”) is beside the point. He lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where my black-hatted co-religionists co-exist with Poles and hipsters, and the air is frequently redolent of smoke-cured pork products. Maybe that’s enough to activate the immune system (see our new guest editorial by Dr. Mark Cullen). Or maybe there was careless processing somewhere along the line. Who cares? This patient is unlikely to eat bacon for the rest of his life, unless he has a spasm of rebellion later in life, which does happen (as readers of our book will also know), but this does not constitute a major threat to his health. There’s enough lard in the nation’s health care bill already (pardon the pun). So please, doctors, think before you test!