When waiting lists for surgery are healthy

A study in today’s New England Journal of Medicine (Developmental Outcomes after Early or Delayed Insertion of Tympanostomy Tubes) concludes that surgery to drain excess fluid from young children’s ears does not produce any benefit.

In most cases the fluid problems resolve themselves within three months, so waiting is all the treatment that’s required.

While Americans tend to cringe when they hear about long waiting lists for surgery in socialized systems, in this case waiting lists could be useful to prevent unneeded procedures.

August 11, 2005

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