Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Gard’

Old Medicine vs. New Medicine

July 16, 2017

Poor baby Charlie Gard and his parents are caught in the old battle between compassionless medical traditionalists who are satisfied with existing medical knowledge and the experimentalists who are trying to advance medical knowledge to reduce the number of disorders that cannot be successfully treated. Traditionalists who don’t know how to treat disorders tend to deny the possibility that patients like Charlie whom they don’t know how to treat can be treated by anyone. They are like selfish little children who don’t want to let other children play with toys they aren’t playing with at the time. Traditionalists would rather have a patient die than allow someone else to treat and cure “their” patient.

Traditionalists often call themselves “experts”, but they are incapable of being experts because experts must be familiar with the latest knowledge as well as the traditional knowledge. Development of new treatments can intimidate traditionalists because they don’t know if they can learn the new knowledge.

Traditionalists don’t understand that parents can accept a child’s death more easily if they know they have tried every possible treatment. Parents can accept death more easily if they know doctors have gained knowledge from their child’s death that might help other children in the future.

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Do British Understand Importance of Medical Research?

July 16, 2017

The efforts of British medical personnel to prevent Charlie Gard from receiving experimental treatment implies they don’t understand how important participating in medical research is. All medical treatments begin as experiments. Someone had to be the first to be treated for rabies. Someone had to be the first to receive a heart transplant. Sixty years ago my grandfather had experimental treatment for skin cancer on his face that didn’t work as expected because, according to my dad, The doctor applied the radiation for too long. Decades later doctors used the knowledge they gained from treating my grandfather and others to successfully treat my father and his brother as well as myself for facial skin cancers.

Sometimes treatment developed for one malady can be used to treat another. American entertainer Jerry Lewis helped raise millions to develop treatments for muscular dystrophy. Doctor used one of those treatments to save Lewis from a potentially fatal heart problem.

We cannot tell in advance if Charlie Gard will benefit from experimental treatment. If he does not his parents will know that their son’s life served a purpose because knowledge gained from treating their son will eventually benefit the lives of other children just like knowledge from efforts to treat my grandfather’s skin cancer benefited his sons and grandson.