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Biopsies in the U.K.
I read with
interest your article, My Liver
Biopsy. It's funny how
things can differ in different countries.
In the U.K.,
after the procedure, you were not allowed to move for 24 hours, hence you
were kept in hospital overnight. On my first biopsy they did not tell me
this, hence I drank as many cups of tea and coffee as they were prepared
to offer me. The night nurse agreed to allow me to sit on the bed to use
the bottles [in-bed urine collection containers for men -Ed].
She wisely brought me 2 bottles.
In those days they were glass and a bit bigger than the ones they
use now. I proceeded to fill both but they were not enough.
Fortunately the ward sink was by my bed, so the first 2 were
deposited down there then I filled another one. Great at information
Over the years
I have had 3 liver biopsies. The
first 2 were ok but the 3rd was done by a butcher who did not complete the
procedure and left the bed and me covered in blood. I refused to have
anymore after that. Fortunately they have ceased to do them in the U.K.
They use a new blood test. Regards
Response: Your story aptly
illustrates not just how medical practices differ between countries, but
also how things change over time. In
the 1990s, in the U.S., we experienced something of a revolution in
out-patient versus in-patient practices.
We have a new type of facility often called “surgery centers”
that specialize is invasive procedures for which the patient can walk in
and walk out on the same day. So-called
“out-patient units” in hospitals provide the same service.
(The facility described in my article, My
Liver Biopsy, is a hospital out-patient unit.)
I presume this revolution was motivated in part by an attempt to
contain health care costs. I
don’t know how well that’s been established; however, I do know that
even the out-patient surgeries are very expensive, often involving
separate bills from facility, surgeon, anesthesiologist, labs and
experience been like your third liver biopsy — during which you
experienced so much bleeding — I think I’d do my utmost to avoid more
of them, too.
I had heard
rumors about the blood test to replace liver biopsies.
In fact, before my derm scheduled my biopsy, he went to one of his
doctors-only online chat groups and inquired.
Now that it’s accepted practice in the U.K., perhaps it will be
accepted in the U.S. soon. I
Thanks for this and do stay in touch, John. –Ed