Bias in Action

 Posted by on 5 August 2004 at 3:30 pm  Uncategorized
Aug 052004

Some radiologist I know pointed me to this disturbing but fascinating news story on the discrepancies between the findings of paid experts compared to those of neutral parties in asbestos lawsuits. Here’s the gist:

The study by Johns Hopkins University radiologists found that medical experts who testified on behalf of plaintiffs in asbestos suits almost always [96% of the time] found something suspicious on their X-rays, whether it was asbestos dust or a likely malignant tumor.

But six disinterested radiologists asked to review the same 492 chest X-rays found something wrong only 4.5 percent of the time.

Wow. Happily, the rest of the article is devoted to indignant condemnations of the dishonest charlatans by honest practicing radiologists, as well as a bit of information on the economic costs of such lawsuits.

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