Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mammography techs ordering their own genetic testing? It appears our suspicion was correct.

A concerned referring physician of ours recently called to report that her confused and somewhat panicked patient just returned from her mammography appointment to say that the tech ordered genetic testing. Based on the patient’s questions and concerns it appeared she had received no genetic counseling and had no informed consent discussion. Additionally, she did not know what test had been ordered and she had no follow-up plan to discuss her test results. The physician was upset and asked, "Is this something that is happening now? Is it common for mammo techs to order this testing? I’m not really sure what to tell the patient or where to go from here if she tests positive. Isn’t this what a genetic counselor is for? Is it just me or does this seem like it could go really bad…?"

No, it isn't just you. This could be a disaster in the making for not only the patients, but also the well-meaning professionals, likely with no education in genetics, who are being subjected to great liability by offering services far outside their professional scope.