November 20th, 2009

Apollo 4 on column of fire

Women's health, the rosy scenarios, and Randi Rhodes

Randi Rhodes just dismissed a female gynecologist(?) who called to defend the recently published guidelines. As is usual on the dismissive side of such discussions, Randi completely disregarded the downsides of screening, even though the caller mentioned these. Instead, she argued, there had been breast cancer in her family and so she wanted people to get screenings.

How many people are going to be subjected to how much radiation from CAT scans? (Which the caller mentioned.) How many people are going to have painful biopsies? (Mentioned by the caller.) How many infections? How many chronic adhesions? How many people are going to have lifelong fibromyalgia that was triggered by the surgery?

Come on, stop it with the rosy scenarios, and accept the reality: getting screened for medical problems can cause serious health problems. It’s something that should be treated as a medical procedure with serious cons.

Does Randi Rhodes want to volunteer for regular chest x-rays to be sure she doesn’t have consumption? It’s not that rare a condition these days. BTW they gave me one of those chest x-rays when they hauled me to the hospital involuntarily for the schizophrenia I didn’t have after a brief evaluation by a psychiatrist whom I never had seen before, and whom I saw because I had asked my mother to take me to a psychiatrist for evaluation. The consequences were heavy and lasting, not least because the actual condition went undiagnosed and untreated.

(Of course, we can dismiss medical errors, and especially incompetence, because they disrupt the rosy scenario.)