Posted by: Witch Doctor | September 5, 2009

Crazy screening and home-baked scones


For some time now The Witch Doctor has been concerned about the current preoccupation with both“preventive medicine” and “screening.”

I feel like some kind of old heretic from a bygone age saying this, but I think it might be making people ill.

I really do.

Furthermore, I think there may be an ulterior motive to some of it.


A fear of illness is a great, untapped commodity – even more lucrative than illness itself.

This, of course, is not to say that The Witch Doctor disapproves of all screening – far from it. But there is good screening, dubious screening and bad screening.

But people need to tread carefully in this complex area.

Even the “good” screening can generate severe anxiety in some individuals.

Why shouldn’t it?

Most people have no real concept of probability.

Why should they?

Risk is easy to define but difficult to quantify.


The Witch Doctor has lost count of friends and relatives who have phoned her up in great consternation because they have been recalled for a repeat of some screening test or another. Or they are just worried waiting for the result.

Fortunately, most turned out to be negative.

One such telephone call was from a friend who could not be reassured by her GP that a small simple lipoma was not malignant, so switched on was she to the possibility of cancer due to the never ending reminders for cervical screening, breast screening, bowel screening, wall charts about malignant melanoma and more recently, the elusive ovarian cancer.

She nursed her worry for two years and told me it was a black cloud over her life that would not go away and yet she couldn’t bring herself to go back to her doctor.

Then, out of the blue, for some reason, she decided she would have all her medical screening done in the private sector.

When people are worried, logic does a vanishing act..

The Jobbing Doctor is not impressed by Tesco’s plan to offer a CT scan to healthy customers as one of their “rewards.”

Dr Ray, who has done a bunk from the blogosphere, is a radiologist with something to say.

The Witch Doctor is not impressed by Tesco’s “reward” either.

Indeed, because of this, The Witch Doctor will not shop in Tesco again.


But Tesco won’t care.

The World won’t care.

And The Witch Doctor will have cut off her nose to spite her face.

You see, there is nowhere else locally she can buy buttermilk.

Buttermilk makes much lighter scones than ordinary milk.

But we witches vote with our feet.

I won’t go back.

I’ll phone the milkman.

And negotiate.


My Black Cat, see if you can dig out The Old Churn from the attic.

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