Medicine: Risks and Rewards

An article in National Review Online by Deroy Murdock talks about the risks of drugs. Deaths from the famously infamous drug Vioxx have spawned lawsuits across the country. But the rate of non-lethalness of Vioxx is 99.7.

The article puts drug risks in perspective.

Americans should think differently about drugs, their risks, and their rewards.

First, the 100-percent-perfect drug is as illusory as the perfect, crash-proof car or the perfect, flood-proof house. Patients and doctors must weigh unfortunate imperfections (even potentially fatal ones) against whatever physical and/or mental satisfaction drugs offer.

Second, while some Americans stand and cheer — usually in front of TV cameras — when a drug disappears from pharmacies, others are horrified to see medicines that have eased or eliminated their discomfort suddenly vanish from their lives. Let’s call this man-made disease “stranded-patient syndrome.”

The article starts with a drug which kills 7,000 people annually. Go and read the article before going any farther.

My grandfather died of this drug. I am sure he is one of the 7,000 people. Or he was the year he died. He died of complications from too thin blood.

But what he REALLY died of was a brain tumor that they took out and getting out of bed while in ICU because there was no one around to keep him in bed and he had to go to the bathroom. And his brain collapsed around the empty space. And he died because the brain collapse somehow shut his kidneys down.

I wonder how many other of the deaths caused by drugs are something similar.

My other grandfather died of the side effects of a cancer drug. He died of heart failure. Too soon. But he would have died of cancer later. I wouldn’t want to take that cancer drug…

Thanks to Irish Pennants for the heads up.