Quote from sdegracia
Even if it's for a sprain, a fracture or such, we have to ask female patients if they are sexually active, when their last MP was, so on and so forth because of the diagnostic tests they will perform, you don't want to expose a little life to radiation if they are pregnant. And also with regards to pain medication and dosing, the doctors need to know what they're going to order.
Hope that helps somehow. =]
X rays of the extremities are considered safe during pregnancy, both due to the fact that the radiation is not being directed at the fetus, and even if it were, the dose of radiation in a plain x ray is low enough to pose little, if any risk. For a person who is concerned, shielding of the abdomen/pelvis can be used.
As far as prescribing, Dilaudid, Percocet, and Vicodin are all pregnancy category C medications, which are prescribed to pregnant women all the time because the benefits outweigh the risks. We do not require verification of pregnancy status of every single woman of childbearing age who comes through our ED and needs pain control.
LMP is not reliable information. Neither is whether the person answers yes or no to being sexually active. If you really need to know pregnancy status, the person needs a urine or serum pregnancy test performed.
The major indications for pregnancy test in the ED are if the person is to undergo a CT scan or if they are having low abdominal/pelvic pain and/or vaginal spotting or bleeding.
So again, if the person is simply in with a sore throat or a twisted ankle, it is not necessary to know their LMP, whether they are sexually active, or whether they could be pregnant.
Clearly, policies will vary from ED to ED.