I’m part of the thalidomide generation. Technically. My mother was prescribed it (after it was withdrawn elsewhere), and took it while I was in utero for morning sickness, however she was part of the small percentage for whom the symptoms got worse, she she stopped almost immediately.
Why bring this up? Because I’m still playing catch-up with the Loose Bloggers Consortium and the topic is “if you can cure one leper why not cure them all”? Well I can think of a few reasons.
What if the cure has side-effects? Thalidomide is currently being used in South America, in particular in Brazil as treatment for erythema nodosum leprosum. Needless to say that for young sexually active women, in particular those who want to have children, there is a major side effect. And a new thalidomide generation. Even the current cocktail of drugs being used for HIV/AIDS treatment has a side effect on cardiac function (actually studies are still ongoing to find out if it is an effect of the virus or the treatment, but it’s unethical to withhold treatment to find out which).
Another reason not to treat everyone is cost. I did some actuarial training, human life has an economic value. Medically there is a quality of life question; treatment you make you live a year longer in pain, or let you die peacefully sooner. However research and development of treatments isn’t cheap, companies need to recoup their investments, bit does anyone want to pay for the treatment? Harsh but true.
Assuming that the cost is agreeable and it’s a cure (not just treating symptoms or a vaccine to prevent the disease being caught) without side effects, there is the problem of triage.
Following a major incident, triage takes hold. Usually a group of injured people are split into
1) Walking wounded, dazed not seriously injured but need some minor treatment and can wait.
2) Serious, but not in immediate danger, so can wait.
3) Need attention now.
4) Gone too far to help, leave or make comfortable
The same applies for a cure. Some will be too far gone to benefit from a cure.
Life isn’t fair. Life isn’t perfect. That is why it’s life. A cure isn’t an immediate end to suffering, but it’s a bloody good start.
The topic “If you can cure one leper, why not cure them all?”was chosen for the LBC this week by Magpie who has retired from the LBC. See how the other active members handle the the topic:- Anu, Delirious, Grannymar, Maxi Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, OCD writer, Padmum, Paul, Ramana and The Old Fossil.