Monday, May 20, 2013

Dr Christian Jessen's at it again

Last year I wrote about how real life TV doctor Christian Jessen didn't do as well as fictional tv doctor Gregory House.

Background: Dr Christian works for a private company offering screening tests. These aren't diagnostic tests. A diagnostic test is when you have a symptom - a lump in your breast say. A test is to try and diagnose what that might be. A screening test is when you have no symptoms but are screened anyway. Screening tests carry risks, and can do more harm than good. I do not know if Dr Christian directly makes money from a harmful practice, or merely works for a company that does.

I saw this conversation on twitter:

I asked Dr McCartney how she had been misrepresented, to which she replied:

It's distressing that someone whose "main aim is to help raise medical awareness and simplify, demystify, de-stigmatise and explain the sometimes complicated and inaccessible world of medicine to the public" is doing such a shoddy job when it comes to screening tests, and is not even entering into a conversation with Dr McCartney, especially given her stirling work that mirrors his main aim.

So, as small as my voice may be, I urge you to ignore Dr Christian's output, and go and check out and maybe pop down to your library or book shop and check out The Patient Paradox, and if you're contemplating a screening test, check out the risks involved - it seems that doctors who work for companies offering them won't tell you after all.

UPDATE: Dr McCarteny's article in the Independent about the smear test.

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