Does Standards of Medical Practice Change for a King?
From Bloomberg news today: "Stroke specialists in the U.S. judged Sharon's prognosis as poor, given the information announced about his condition yesterday. David S. Liebeskind, associate neurology director of the stroke center at the University of California at Los Angeles, said Sharon's chances of full recovery are low.
The benefits of surgery to reduce pressure on the brain are unclear, said Robert D. Brown Jr., professor of neurology and chairman of the stroke division at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
``We still don't have good evidence that surgical treatment of hemorrhagic strokes will have an effect on survival or disability,'' Brown said. "
Today, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon apparently underwent his 3rd brain surgery for cerebral bleeding. In view of what appears to be a dismal prognosis and even though the public doesn't know all the clinical details nor the requests of the Sharon family, I would like to pose an ethical issue: should standards of medical practice be guided by the social importance of the patient and not by clinical experience and evidence-based medicine? If other factors are equal, such as ability to afford the medical care, should standard and accepted therapy be trumped by a "do everything and anything" attempts at therapy simply because the patient is a king or a prime minister and not a plain citizen? Again, we have no proof that this is the case with Mr. Sharon.. but I just wondered about justice and non-malificence and so on. ..Maurice.
1/6/2006 ADDENDUM: I just thought of another question: Do you think that V.I.P. (very important person) treatment is a standard of medical practice? If so.. my original question is moot. ..Maurice.