Cutting Edge Report: Maybe there’s another explanation?

By Dr John the Night-tripper:

In the Herald today:

The message that the NHS is “safe and open for business” is still not getting through to the public, a leading doctor has warned. Professor Jackie Taylor, president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow (RCPSG) said their members remain concerned that doctors are still seeing fewer patients than they would expect.

Once more, we have the anecdotal impressions of a trade union leader, accepted uncritically by a hack, to undermine confidence in NHS Scotland and, by association, the Scottish Government.

No survey, properly conducted, has been done. No useful evidence is offered.

Now, seeming to contradict my own principles, I’m going to kick-off with a personal anecdote. Twenty years ago, complaining of waking and having to pee too many times during the night, I was diagnosed with ‘benign prostatis‘ and a consultant urologist suggested that he simply cut out my prostate gland, which he felt was squeezing my urethra, or at least that’s what I remember. He was keen to go and could fit me in sooner if I went private.

The basis for his diagnosis and the will to cut me up was the number of times I said I was peeing, a pressure test (how hard could I pee) and two fingers inserted where the sun don’t shine, before announcing, ‘yes, it’s big‘ and ‘no, you cant pee hard enough‘. The said gland was never scanned.

I’d read about this op and asked for time to think. In a peer-reviewed journal, the New Zealand Journal of Urology, I think, I found a review of hundreds of research studies and the conclusion that cutting out the gland for this purpose rarely worked and the common side effects didn’t bear thinking about.

Every year, at my review, the consultant recommended surgery. I showed him the journal article and he made to bin it before handing it back to me, with a patronising sneer. I read later, a survey of psychopathic tendencies in different occupations, and found surgeons in third place after chief execs and generals.

While I haven’t cured myself entirely, weight loss and diet changes have significantly reduced the problem, even though I am now 20 years older.

So, is it possible that surgeons are just disappointed and less surgery might not be a bad thing? We’d need more than my anecdote, of course.

What about this?

Despite reduced levels of surgery in Scottish hospitals, fewer people are dying at the moment (red line), than on average they have in the previous five years.

I know there must be more to this. I leave the space below for comment.

Don’t take the…

12 thoughts on “Cutting Edge Report: Maybe there’s another explanation?”

  1. I had to have my right kidney removed, aged 19, following an accident. Whilst awaiting surgery, I was, by a good few decades, the youngest patient in a packed Ward Seven at Ballochmyle Hospital.

    Nearly all the other patients (there was one guy taking his Hitler impression a tad too-far) were in for prostate surgery.

    This was in the 1960s. I am now, aged 73, still getting bye with the one kidney. As for prostate surgery – don’t some medical students decide to specialise in surgery, because they enjoy cutting into people?

    Just asking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and at the same time, having a secret love affair with their hammers, drills and screwdrivers….. which sends a shiver down my spine


  2. Teenage psychopath to guidance teacher–“I hope for a job where I can unleash my “tendencies”.

    Guidance teacher–“Well, you could be a butcher, but no fun in that!
    How about sticking in at school, become a surgeon, and you get to carve up all the people you want?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had the same condition for as many years. Totally fixed with medication although I am still large and benign. 😄
    Ask your doctor to consider finasteride and alfusozen.


  4. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow is not a trade union. Its role is in post-graduate training and education of doctors – physicians and surgeons. The College also has a Dental Faculty. The British Medical Association carries out that function for doctors.

    I am not clear why you have taken such exception to the President of the RCPSG, who is a physician, trying to get the message across to people that the the NHS is open for business and people should be assured that steps had been taken to reassure people by addressing their concerns about Covid-19 and the possibility of cross infection.

    As to the ‘anecdotal nature of the drop in numbers which you use to criticise the piece, two points: firstly the drop in attendances is supported by the various reports produced by PHS. For example the reduction in A&E attendances which have increased from the low figures at the start of the pandemic but have not yet reached their pre-pandemic levels.
    Secondly, where do you think PHS gets its figures if not from the doctors, nurses and admin staff that collate them?

    You also seem to have gone off on a bit of a tangent in your rant about surgeons.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know about seeing a Dr, (GP), chatting on the phone has replaced appointments, and they avoid seeing people if at all possible. Our surgery is closed, but open for phone consultation. My experience was not good recently, it’s hard to explain several symptoms properly on the phone, nevertheless was diagnosed and given meds, GP seemed quite bored and desperate to get off the phone. There was no mention of a follow up, which I think should definitely have been part of the ‘consultation’. The worried well diagnosis?
    Spoke to a neighbour who works in ‘oncology’, he says they have not been very busy and are worried about a spike in more advanced cases of cancer as a result of people staying away.
    What can be done then? The GP practice says they ‘triage’ ie, you are seen only if they think it’s necessary, by phone consultation, and I guess referred if necessary, IF they decide to see you.

    Not sure what can be done, if GP’s are not examining people and referring them for further investigation, then perhaps that is part of the problem as well as people staying away through fear. How do you properly diagnose if you aren’t seeing people in the first instance?
    It is though very interesting that numbers of people dying has actually gone down!
    This all needs to be looked at in more detail. Lower deaths could be for many reasons, maybe staying home is safer than going out to work etc at crazy hours for 12 hours a day, more sleep, and less stress? Fewer people driving, reduced traffic accidents, who knows, it could be interesting to find out how peoples’ lives changing has affected health and well being, good and bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had blood samples taken at the local GP’s surgery in August part of a 6-month cycle of regular check-up. Back in April the Cardiology dept via my GP requested Blood Pressure readings from me. I have a home monitor so took regular readings over the course of a week and sent them via email to my GP who checked they were OK and got back to me within a day or two to let me know that they were fine.

      At the beginning of September Cardiology sent me an appointment for an Echocardiohgram. I duly attended the appointment and had the test. I am waiting for the result.

      This morning my GP phoned to review my medication which is done every six months. Last week he phoned my husband to review his meds and check on how he was doing.

      Earlier this week my husband had his 1-year post op check up at the hospital Surgical OPD. The car park was full and he had to park in the overflow car park.

      The NHS is open for business although it may be doing business in different ways eg GPs. The differences particularly in hospitals mean that fewer patients may be seen at any given session but the sessions are taking place. At least that has been our experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. i had a bad case of constipation and and a doctor in glasgow royal infirmary said it was my appendix looking back on it he was rubbing his hands hoping i said yes to the operation couldnt wait to cut me open get in there lol

    Liked by 1 person

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