NBC Today show hypes medical technologies

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This week the NBC Today Show offers a series the likes of which makes my skin crawl. With 45-million uninsured Americans, the Today Show reports on “Saving Your Life: Modern Medical Miracles.” If a miracle were available but nobody could afford it or access it, would it still be a miracle?

Riding the appeal of reporter involvement, the Today Show had Matt Lauer get a 64-slice cardiac CT scan. The MSNBC website explains that the machine is made by GE. The website says: “GE Healthcare’s LightSpeed VCT is the world’s first machine that enables physicians to capture images of a human heart in just five heartbeats — something no other CT system can offer.” The website does not remind viewers that GE owns NBC. But why bother with disclosure when we’re talking about miracles? And why bother with a discussion of the arguments against using such scans in healthy people?

Then, in a segment entitled “Magic Pill Scans Your Insides,” Katie Couric swallowed a camera-in-a-pill to show us more of her insides that you may have missed from her last colonoscopy on the air. There was only scant discussion of costs and insurance coverage and no meaningful discussion of why we needed such a camera-in-a-pill in our growing medical armamentarium.

Please bring back Dave Garroway and the chimp.

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