We did not need that information
About a year ago, my husband and I were in Philadelphia, PA visiting a few friends who live in the city and slightly beyond. One of them is a pediatrician, who was earning a PhD in public health at a prestigious US university.
Out at dinner one night, over octopus at a local Chinese restaurant, four of us - the doctor, my husband, myself and one of my closest friends- got into a bit of an argument largely spurred by my ignorance of various topics.
One of them was breast self exams and how this at-home test for cancer was causing more harm than personal and public good by forcing doctors to perform expensive, invasive, anxiety-inducing testing over every tiny lump a would-be patient comes across after only a few seconds of feeling around.
My hotheaded position: all information is good, the more the better. And if excessive testing can find that tiny risk factor, or possibly save a life, then it's all for the best - even if 99 per cent of the time the testing is useless and proves nothing was wrong in the first place.
The doctor's astute position: forget all the testing. 99 per cent of the time it only amounts to patient stress, not useful information.
Now, one year and one frightening ordeal later, I see his point.
When my husband and I walked out of our second ultrasound we were handed a report as per hospital protocol. We were expected to deliver it to my Ob/Gyn to save the administrative hassle, I believe, for the hospital. If something was wrong, a doctor would have stopped us on our way home that day to talk to us about it. Nobody did.
But while doctors weren't concerned by what the report contained, my husband and I became terribly upset by what we read.
We are two panicky parents-to-be with little understanding of medical concepts (despite being well educated and having lots of doctors in the immediate family), but that tiny piece of information, like finding a lump under my arm, was enough to make us absolutely nuts for several days.
We scoured the Internet for information. Sought countless professional opinions. Agonized over what we later found out was truly nothing. And still we worry. A lot.
We didn't need to know what was on that sheet. That information lead us down an awful, needless path.
So why was did the hospital give it to us??