The Story Behind Senator Kennedy’s Surgery
Evidence based medicine is now the cornerstone of medical practice but unfortunately it has been hijacked by politicians in their attempt to control cost and to control doctors.
I have always maintained that we need to strike a balance between sound evidence and the need to make progress. Progress in medicine cannot be achieved if we are ideologically stuck with outdated evidence and worse, evidence that suited politicians. In recent times this has led to gross discrepancies across countries in the treatment of Alzheimer, lung and breast cancer, where some treatments have been accepted by other developed countries including
Sometimes acceptance seems to depend on where the evidence originates from. For some time when Europe was merrily using Clozapine for schizophrenia, the
Those entering the medical profession must realize sooner or later that we can only make progress if we keep an open mind and refrain from being dogmatically stuck with old ways.
Now it is interesting when a politician falls ill with something serious. It is unclear what exactly Senator Kennedy’s brain tumour was but from all the information in the public domain it is safe to say it was a glioma and most likely glioblastoma.
As the third longest serving Senator in
The result? The New York Times reported,
“Two weeks later, Mr. Kennedy, 76, flew to
“Whether the surgery was justified or not, that Mr. Kennedy had it at Duke embarrassed the
“Senator Kennedy has had a track record of being thorough and diligent in researching medical options when relatives or friends have fallen ill.” These included two of his own children and for both he helped them choose a more aggressive route. Both seemed to have done well, according to the New York Times.
Is this new approach going to be an adopted practice, I have my doubts. For the influential, EBM has a different slant and perhaps a different meaning: evidence from a number of top doctors and the patient gets to pick what he sees as the best treatment option.
It pays to be a Senator, I suppose.