Ned Flounders wrote:I also disagree strongly with snoqueen's final statement in the excerpt above. What is "hideous" or "shocking" about premodern medical care is not that it was gory or relied on the use of toxic metals; it's that it was gory and ineffective.
Exactly. Thank you.
Not only were the treatments Snoqueen describes ineffective, they were, in most cases, founded in superstition rather than scientific observation. To my knowledge, there is no reliable account claiming that arsenic treatments, blood-letting, and the like ever did anything beneficial for the patient. Comparatively, we have reams of data to show that chemotherapy can effectively treat many kinds of cancer (depending on a host of variables). In many other cases it's a craps shoot. But you don't have to look very far to find instances of folks who were diagnosed as terminal who beat the odds. Ask one of them or their families if they think chemotherapy is just junk science.
In a handful of decades you'll have med students aghast that we ever cut people open to do any sort of thoracic or abdominal surgery. So fucking what? Does that invalidate today's method of open heart surgery which, while not pretty (I don't want to sit in on one, let alone have one), saves hundreds of lives every day?
I'd probably feel differently about this case if the kid's doctors had written him off or if it seemed they were interested in him merely as a guinea pig, but that doesn't appear to be the case in this instance.
I'm giving the judge the benefit of the doubt that he considered both the relevant medical literature and expert witness testimony as well as the kid's medical record (to which none of us is privy, mind you) before ultimately making the decision he felt was in the best interest of the child. I think to doubt that decision is to presume one knows a whole lot more about this case than the little bit that has trickled out of the courtroom and into the mainstream media ... which to me seems unlikely.