Some other examples:
* Don't use opioid painkillers for migraines except as a last resort, say the neurologists. There are better, more migraine-specific drugs available without the addictive risk of narcotics. Plus, frequent use of opioids actually can worsen migraines, a concept known as rebound headache.
* Just because a pregnant woman misses her due date, don't race to induce labor if mom and baby are doing fine, say the obstetricians. Inducing before the cervix is ready often fails, leading to an unneeded C-section. "Just being due by the calendar doesn't mean your body says you're due,'' Stream notes.
* Don't automatically give a child a CT scan after a minor head injury, say the pediatricians. About half of children who go to the ER with head injuries get this radiation-heavy scan, and clinical observation first could help some who don't really need a CT avoid it.
* And don't leave an implanted heart-zapping defibrillator turned on when a patient is near death, say the hospice providers. This technology clearly saves lives by guarding against an irregular heartbeat. But if someone is dying of something else, or is in the terminal stages of heart disease, it can issue repeated painful shocks, to no avail. Yet fewer than 10 percent of hospices have formal policies on when to switch off the implants.