Friday, November 5, 2010

Heaven in My Foot: The Tuskegee Mentality: Condemning Antiretrovira

Researchers are obliged to gather the most objective, accurate scientific knowledge they can while doing, so far as is humanly possible, no harm: clinicians are obliged to do all the good they can for the people in their care, period.  In the clinic, only the individual patient's well-being, not the advancement of science, may be consulted.  The patient has a right to demand, and the doctor a duty to provide, any treatment that in their joint judgement may improve the patient's overall condition.  Far from being obligatory, it is forbidden for a doctor to consider the advancement of science in deciding whether to withhold any reasonable therapy from a patient who wants it.  The idea that patients must—or even may—be denied treatment in order to advance science is nothing short of a Tuskegee mentality.
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Which is why I was so outraged that doctors repeatedly refused me sleeping pills (known to be safe) and pain pills (known to be safe) for my demonstrated sleep and pain issues, insisting I could only have anti-depressants (known to be useless for CFS).
I wasn't asking for anything risky, I wasn't asking for anything the CFS experts wouldn't want me to have, but they nonetheless flatly refused to give it to me for no reason other than that if the pills I wanted caused more improvement than the anti-depressants, it would prove that I knew more than they did, and they simply could not tolerate that.  Rather than be proven wrong, they'd rather make me worse.
Whatever happened to "first, do no harm"?

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