I have read that worldwide, this protocol has been tried 25 times and the little girl, Precious, is the fifth person to survive. Well, 20% is better than the usual 0-10% survival without treatment, but also at an incredible expense. Two weeks in the PICU in not cheap. And although Precious seems to be fine, I wonder if there was permanent neurological damage to any of the other four survivors.

Reminds me of our recent pandemic H1N1 experience. Although there was some success with doctors trying some novel approaches out of desperation, like ECMO, these are approaches that were incredibly expensive and would only have been available to a small percentage of patients if H1N1 had really taken off and sickened a lot of people.

This topic also reminds me of dweste's thread we had on science a little while ago. This is an example of how medical science gets advanced in many cases. The doctors are desperate, they have a hunch about something that might work, and they try it. This approach wasn't approved by the FDA first. There were no clinical trials done. Eventually, doctors will decide whether they "think" it works, and if so, it will become the new standard. Maybe after the fact, someone will do the research to figure out exactly how it works or to confirm that it really is better than other treatments. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but just pointing out that the process really isn't as "scientific" as people imagine in many cases.

Hmmm, I'm curious if Precious has health insurance? And even if she did, I imagine this protocol is still considered "experimental" and therefore not covered by insurance. "Glad you're feeling well, Precious! By the way, when you see your parents, please give them this bill for $750,000, OK?"