Monday, December 10, 2007

a way to stop paralysis?

Recently, a professional football player was injured in a helmet to helmet collision. At the field, doctors pronounced him paralyzed for the rest of his life, the player was promptly air-lifted to a hospital where doctors experimentally injected his body with cold saline and lowered his body temperature enough to stop the swelling in the spinal column. As a result of this the player is now up and walking with limited body functions.

Is it ethical to step in and save this professional football player from paralysis when so many others become paralyzed each year simply because they can't afford this cutting edge science?

In what ways will this be a good step for medicine? Will it have a bad impact at all? Discuss.
Here is a link if you want the whole story:


Kenshin_Himura said...

I believe that while, this treatment was amazing in the fact it saved him from being paralyzed for the rest of his life, which, in itself is an amazing step for medicine, the problem lies in what the doctors could have been doing at the same time.
Preventing someone in a car accident from dying due to their wounds?
Helping a person who just collapsed from hypothermia?
This could also have a negative aspect to it. If those who have money/ are famous are given priority over the common man, then what have we become? It doesn't matter who you are, you should be given the same amount of priority. Money should not cause doctors to prefer one pacient over another.

Dani said...

was it experimental at the time? or a proven method for curing paralysis?

Kenshin_Himura said...

It was experimental.
In theory, it should have suceeded (which in practice, it did)

Dani said...

he consented to it?
otherwise theres an ethical problem as well

katrina337 said...

I'm not sure where I stand on this at this point.

But my question is, had the experiment failed, would we be discussing the ethics of it right now?

Dani said...

potentially...depends on what happened

Simone S. said...

I think that it was a good step for medicine. New treatments have to begin somewhere and usually developing treatments are experimental and expensive. If the treatment was sucessful in the football player's case, then perhaps more research can be done and this treatment can become more accessible to people who can't afford it right now.
I think that it was ethical if the football player consented to the treatment. However, who paid for the treatment? If he paid for it himslef, then I don't see any problem. But if someone else other than a family member or friend funded the treatment, then I would wonder if that is ethical to give people special treatment just because they're famous. However in reality that happens all the time.

Dani said...

Cynically (or maybe not so much), maybe he was the ideal "subject" for this experimental procedure. If he can walk/run/play again than whoopee! and if not, is a very dangerous sport.