Those of a certain age (“Very Old” according to my children) will remember the usual way of getting association football scores on a Saturday afternoon was watching the TV, and the sports section would show them on the screen. For people who were still tensley awaiting the catch up show on the box later that evening, the announcer would intone “Look away now if you don’t want to know the results”.
Well. I was never a great footie fan, and always wanted to know stuff, so I rarely did. I sometimes then had to spend an hour or two NOT mentioning things to uncles, cousins and the like. But the truth would out in the end to all of us.
Did me knowing the score of the Rochdale – Port Vale match a couple of hours before my family have any impact on me? Did it let me alter the inevitable disappointment my relatives would feel when, yet again, the lads had failed to come up trumps? Did knowing earlier have any benefit beyond a slight sense of unease?
When we go looking for things, we might just find them. And the things we find may be immutable, and disturbing, and unhelpful to know. When we scan and test and probe and biopsy, do we do so to change our actions in some way which could be helpful? It’s stereotypically asked by radiologists, and should be held onto by all of us in paediatrics; How will this test/scan/x-ray change your management? Think carefully when you ask your clinical questions to seek evidence to inform them; how could what I find out alter what I can do?