Monday, September 8, 2014

Gary Schwitzer puts into perspective the issue surrounding the desire of Ashya King's family for the child to have proton beam therapy.  Excerpts:

In all of this, there is a golden opportunity to improve the public dialogue about new medical technology. Issues such as: how many such devices does one city, one region, one country, the world need?

Why does the US (with more than a dozen operating and more than a dozen in the works) have so many proton beam facilities?  Much of the proliferation – not all of it – is for reasons other than treating kids with difficult-to-treat brain cancer, where the evidence is strongest but where the number of cases is relatively small.  It’s to treat the prostate cancer cash cow, for a condition where the evidence is questionable.

That’s a part of the technology assessment, technology proliferation story that isn’t often told.  

So while the Ashya King story has many ugly angles, let’s not turn it into a story of the big, bad British health care system that doesn’t have any proton beam facilities up and operating for kids like this yet.  That angle – about allocation of limited resources – is a lot more complex.


Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.

Popular Posts