#95– The hijacking of caring No. 2 — A continuing saga.

Most people think of Zamboni as a wheeled vehicle that repairs the ice between periods in hockey games. Since 2009, people involved with multiple sclerosis have become aware of Professor Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a vascular surgeon in Ferrarra, Italy who has claimed success in treating MS patients.  In publicizing his findings and in his interviews with the news media, Dr. Zamboni has been hijacking the caring.

It little matters at this stage whether Dr. Zamboni is right or wrong in his hypothesis.  If he is right, it will be a major breakthrough.  His first responsibility is to find a way to prove his hypothesis to his scientific peers.

Dr. Zamboni has yet to prove his theory and the procedure that he is promoting.  His fellow scientists are not kicking sand in his face.  They really want to find out if he is right.  There are hundreds of millions of many currencies ready to support the procedure and offer the treatment to MS patients—if it can be scientifically authenticated.  Responsible scientists do not try to prove their theories with anecdotal evidence.

And that is the problem.  Does Dr. Zamboni expect to be beatified by his church because he can say to an MS patient “Take up your bed and walk”?

What happens to the patient when five months from now, he or she realizes that they are not any better?  The placebo effect is rife in MS patients.  Vitamin B12 can also make you feel better—for a while.  Teenagers have told us that popping a few ecstasy tabs is supposed to make you feel you are king of the world.  And maybe it will—before a bad mix of that garbage in some thug’s kitchen kills you.

Caring people, MS people, are now being enticed to fly-by-night clinics in India and Poland and other countries with lax rules to have what is called “the Liberation treatment’ for which the operators liberate the caring of much money.  The operators are sending patients back to Canada without adequate post-operative information and a dangerous stent in a vein, ready to move to the heart and death.

It is hardly the caring people who are at fault.  They are desperate for a cure.  Dr. Zamboni is selling hope.

It is not really the fault of the grasping politicians who jump on the Liberation bandwagon to show their affinity, concern and need for votes.  They see it as a cause that they can appear to be supporting to keep them in the public eye.  They use it briefly and then go on to the next photo-op.

If there is a fault to be laid at someone’s door, in this country, it has to be laid at the door of the MS Society of Canada.  This is a failure in leadership.  Speaking to the key people of the Society the other day, the point was made: “That is our mob out there.  They are conflicted. They are caught between hope and science.  Hope trumps science anytime.

“Please take this opportunity to lead,” they were asked.

Whether they will or not, we do not know.  We can only hope.

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Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to   peter@lowry.me

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