Men of action

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 22.08.41Doctors, writes Dalrymple,

are inclined to believe that doing something (especially when it is them doing it) is better than doing nothing. They mistake benevolent intentions for good results, believing that the first guarantee the second.

Besides, doing something

stimulates the economy.

Dalrymple comes across a paper by Danish researchers that

assesses the extent to which published reports of trials of screening procedures, such as mammography, colonoscopy, PSA testing, etc., note their harmful effects and consequences as well as their positive ones.

This is important ethically because

screening reverses the usual relationship between patient and healthcare system. In screening it is the healthcare system that initiates the contact, not the other way round. Screening is offered to healthy people, or at least to those complaining of nothing; moreover, the chances of benefit from screening are often slight, and those who benefit do so in a sense at the expense of those who are harmed.

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