Research doctors have put pigs into a short-term state of suspended animation to test whether the procedure could be used to increase the time that doctors have in treating severe trauma patients. The results appear very positive.

It is worth, however, pointing out that gross oversight that the PRI reporter makes in describing the story. First, Alexa Lim states, “But that procedure could come to a hospital near you in the next few years.” But this time frame is completely unrealistic given the regulatory process, a fact that Alexa Lim points out near the end of the article:

Even such basic trials come with major safety and ethical concerns, so they must meet standards set out by special hospital review boards. Because the technique will need to be used on trauma victims where there’s no time to get consent even from relatives, doctors will have to educate all potential patients in a community — potentially hundreds of thousands of people — in case some want to opt out in advance.

“That’s why it’s extremely difficult and challenging and time-consuming and expensive to do these trials,” Alam says.

I find this internal cognitive dissonance disturbing for two reasons. One: Internal to their own (rather short) article, does the reporter not realize what they’re writing? Second, and much more importantly: white washing the destructiveness of the regulatory process helps nobody (save the regulators). People die because the regulatory process is a huge, lumbering, slow process. These are the very real but very invisible deaths of those who might have been saved had regulators not restricted a product or procedure or moved more quickly to approve something. I do wish that reporters would point this out more often.

-JD Cross

 

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