Medicine: Larceny in the Labs

Bound to the bedside, many U.S. doctors no longer perform tedious lab tests themselves, rely instead on commercial laboratories for analysis of patients' blood, tissue and urine samples. So heavy is the demand for private lab services that New York City alone has 425 clinical laboratories, a few of which are highly automated, use punch cards and assembly lines to grind out as many as 600 urinalyses and 2,500 blood tests a day. Big outfits like New York's Allstate Medical Laboratories have branches in other cities and employ aggressive door-to-door sales staffs. To...

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