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Arrogance of ‘but all you need is a good index finger’: A narrative ethics exploration of lack of universal funding of PSA screening in Canada
  1. Jeff Nisker
  1. Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jeff Nisker, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada; jeff.nisker{at}lhsc.on.ca

Abstract

This narrative ethics exploration stems from my happy prostate-specific antigen (PSA) story, though it should not have been, as I annually refuse my family physician’s recommendation to purchase PSA screening. The reason for my refusal is I teach ethics to medical students and of course must walk the talk, and PSA screening is not publicly funded in the province of Ontario, Canada. In addition, I might have taken false comfort in ‘but all you need is a good index finger’ to detect prostate cancer, expounded by a senior physician at a national medical conference in 2010, and applauded by the large audience of physicians. I was compelled to begin this exploration out of survivor guilt, although I will not be a survivor for long, and as a mea culpa to the men similarly situated to me in having late diagnosis of prostate cancer, aggressive tumours and multiple metastases, but who unlike me are dead because they did not experience the physician–educator-based exceptionisms and coincidences that permit me to still be alive. Although my PSA story will always be a happy story, even when my life ends in a few years, the initiation of public funding of PSA screening for all men over 50 would make my PSA story an even happier story.

  • distributive Justice
  • ethics
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Footnotes

  • Contributors The author is the sole contributor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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