Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Food: For The Ignorant

Have a look at the title and the self-selected quote for a BBC article...
Second opinion 'saved tumour man'
A County Antrim man told by Belfast Health Trust that his brain tumour was inoperable, has had life-saving surgery in a private clinic in Dublin.
How many alarm bells do you hear ringing? Even without having to read the article itself I can point to at least two. The first one is in the title, of course, because it implies that people should not have to seek second opinions even in cases of serious illness being diagnosed, which in turn perpetuates the fallacy of medicine, lone among human endeavours, is totally error free and thus we only need go to the good witch doctor and all will be fine. The second problem is at the very end, implying that the only reason poor man was saved was because he went to a private clinic. One has to read the article itself, however, to learn that Mr Nelson was indeed offered second opinion from the NHS which he apparently refused in order to go privately. Which is fine, but does not a news article make. NHS also claimed that in Mr Nelson's case there is no proof surgery is effective, something I did not go and check on the interwebs, but something that I hope Mr Nelson will not discover himself to his detriment, even if he currently feels he benefited. But what he, and the BBC, forgets is that treatment success is a game of big numbers, and he might have just won the lottery. Which is not a bad thing, as long as the media do not try to make it into a par for the course.

So BBC, thanks for nothing. Reporting like this does not help anyone, not in the long run...