I noticed this yesterday:
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson found dead in her flat
Comes as a friend appeared on This Morning to claim she had relapsed ‘back into a dark place’
Socialite and model told last year that she had been battling a brain tumour following bombshell diagnosis
Workmen in her building said they had not seen her since hearing ‘very loud bang’ from her flat last Friday
I assumed that the “very loud bang” had been a gunshot, and that Tara Palmer-Tomkinson had committed suicide. Of course, that may not have been what happened at all. But it set me wondering how many people lapse into despair, or commit suicide, shortly after being handed this sort of diagnosis by their doctor. And also to what extent doctors drive people to despair and suicide with diagnoses like these.
What happens if, during some routine examination, your doctor tells you have cancer or some other dreadful malady – even though you haven’t noticed any symptoms yourself? What if they tell you that you can only expect to live another 6 months, at most? Wouldn’t that be a tremendous blow to somebody who had been, up until that point, living a perfectly happy life? Might they easily lapse into despair, and take to the bottle, and spiral downwards out of control? Something they wouldn’t have done if they hadn’t been presented with this devastating diagnosis.
I suspect that, if it were me, given my collapsing esteem for doctors and experts in general, I probably wouldn’t believe what I was told. After all, I believe less and less of anything I’m told about anything.
But it would seem that TP-T was one of the believing kind. She believed what her doctor had told her (and, who knows, she may have been right to do so).
But I’m seriously concerned about a circumstance where you no longer go to visit a doctor when you judge yourself unwell, but instead doctors now tell patients when they deem them to be unwell. And furthermore they very often name the cause (smoking). I’m concerned because I think that it should be I – and not some doctor – who decides that I am unwell.
I’ve told this story before, but it’s worth re-telling. A retired tea-planter from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) recounted one day how one of the workmen on his plantation had committed some infraction, and had climbed up a tree to hide. The tea-planter tried to induce him to climb down, but the man refused. After a while, the tea-planter gave up trying, and called up to the man: “It doesn’t really matter whether you come down or not, because you’re going to die in three days anyway.” A day or two later, the fugitive climbed down from the tree, went back to his home – and died there the next day. “Such is the power of suggestion,” the retired tea-planter observed, after recounting the story.
With some slight caveats, I deem myself to be perfectly well at present, and I haven’t been to see a doctor for over 10 years. But I suspect that if I ever fall into the clutches of the medical profession, they will diagnose me with about 30 or 40 different diseases, and give me about three days to live.