Would you go to this game?


Imagine you're invited to watch the big game. The ticket is free and you have no conflicting obligations to keep you away. 200,000 people will attend! But, there's one small caveat - at this game, it's been determined that there is a 100% probability that one person in attendance will die from bullet wound to the neck. Yes, there is an assassin who will shoot one person and one person only. The shot will not kill you right away, and you'll have a chance to fight for your life - but you will lose and die with 100% probability. Would you take this chance? Would you let your spouse or child take this chance? If it's my spouse or child I'm not letting them take that chance!

A recent series of articles on thyroid cancer has hit many media outlets. They describe a recent publication from Mayo clinic that recommends "low risk thyroid cancer"  be treated with observation only (which actually, is not a treatment). Part of their logic is that only 1 in 200,000 die of this type of cancer - called micropapillary thyroid carcinoma. As a thyroid surgeon, I'm dedicated to the preservation and improvement of my patient's health. Notice, that I state that in the singular, not plural. My dedication is to the single patient whom I'm treating. I can't look at a single patient and tell whether they are part of the group of 199,999 who won't die or the one who will. If it's my spouse or child, I'm not letting them take that chance.