By Dr David Laing Dawson
We are living within a Monty Python skit. I must try returning my dead parrot to a Pet store and see what happens.
The American Congress has just granted Charlie Gard and his parents resident status in the U.S. so that Charlie can “receive the first rate American Medical care that he needs”.
This is the same Congress trying to repeal and replace Obamacare with a plan that would eventually deny health care for 30 million Americans, many of them children.
Polio is making a comeback. Measles is making a comeback, thanks to the antivaxers. Cholera is sweeping through Yemen.
Today, a child with cystic fibrosis in Canada will live, on average, ten more years than the same child in the United States.
A doctor from the U.S. flew to England to examine Charlie. The money spent to fly him there and back could feed 10 starving children in the Sudan for a year if he flew economy, perhaps 5 years if he flew first class. Or bottles of clean salty water and a dose or two of tetracycline for thousands of cholera victims.
This doctor, who has been experimenting on rats, would like to try his therapy on a human. He guesses at a 10% chance of “some improvement”.
With the goal being “some improvement” and the odds only 10%, most placebos do better. And I am not sure what “some improvement” looks like with an infant who cannot breathe or eat on his own, has brain damage at the structural and cellular level, and is dying from an incurable progressive genetic disease involving the mitochondria, one of those essential bits in every cell.
As with much of American culture and politics, I guess this isn’t about health care, saving and improving lives, treating illness, preventing disability. It is about money, self-aggrandizement, career, and celebrity.
In another real life skit NASA has had to officially deny that it is running a child slave camp on Mars. Or was that a child sex slave camp?
And in an open hearing a Republican Congressman asks “if Mars was different thousands of years ago, could there have been a civilization on Mars?” The scientist on the panel tells him Mars was different billions of years ago, but there is no evidence of any civilization ever existing on Mars.
The chairman thanks the congressman and says, “Looking forward to finding what’s up there, for sure.”
This last statement is interesting. Besides the notion that Mars is “up there”, this chairman doesn’t seem to know that with probes, orbiting satellites, and rovers, we have been receiving information about Mars for over 40 years.
Donald Trump thinks the “biggest crowd that ever gathered around the Eiffel Tower” came to see him dine, shortly after he made the “best speech any president has ever made on foreign soil.”
Ground Control to Major Tom.