How Breast Exams Are Like Dog Sniffs

An interesting legal analogy posited by Prof. SHERRY F. COLB  on APRIL 2, 2015   in

VERDICT: Legal Analysis and Commentary from Justia 

Prof Colb's article, How Breast Exams Are Like Dog Sniffs, re-posted in part below. 

On March 17, the New York Times ran a story about the troubling inconclusiveness of breast biopsy results. Some results are clear and generate a reassuring consensus among pathologists examining the tissue. But for “grey area” results, some doctors find reason for alarm and thus for more tests and procedures, while others believe that all is essentially well. In this column, I will compare this phenomenon of ambiguity-generating medical tests with a seemingly unrelated phenomenon that surrounds dog sniffs for narcotics. I will suggest that when a test’s results are less than definitive, we may have a reason to avoid taking the test in the first place, even when the test itself is relatively uninvasive or innocuous on its own.