By Tom LaBelle
When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, a hyper metastatic nephroma, the only things they had were surgery and mustard gas. Yes, you heard me right, mustard gas, the stuff they used in World War I to kill the enemy. That was it. As for diagnostics, there was the X-ray and exploratory surgery.
Now, in 2017, we have: CT scans; MRI scans; colonoscopies; stereotactic X-ray; proton beams; open heart surgery; heart valve replacements; heart, lung, kidney and, yes, penis transplants; retinal reattachment; nerve grafts; burn treatments and reconstruction; hip, knee, shoulder and other kinds of joint replacements; laparoscopic surgery; robotic surgery (e.g., the Da Vinci machine); at least 300 medicines for cancer (but no mustard gas); statins for the heart; TPA for stroke; bone density scans; pacemakers and defibrillators; PSMA scans for metastatic prostate tumors (still experimental); cochlear implants; benign paroxysmal positional vertigo treatments; dental implants; root canals; brain implants to control seizures; and bone implants.
These are but a few. They all have come on the scene since my dad died. They all cost money because the people who develop and implement these treatments shouldn’t have to work for free — hell, would you? No? Didn’t think so.
Thanks to these people, when you or your kid gets sick, these ameliorative and curative treatments, which were undreamed of when I graduated high school in 1960, are there waiting for you.
I have a stage-4 cancer that would have long since killed me were this the 1950s, but today, I’m on a medicine called abiraterone acetate that has knocked it back by 90 percent in just under a month. Had the results of an as-yet experimental PSMA scan been different, I would have had the tumor burnt out by a proton beam. The abiraterone acetate costs $57,000 for a course of treatment. Don’t know what the proton beam treatment would have cost, but the machine that delivers it (a cyclotron) cost $150 million.
So you squawk about “paying for someone else’s health care,” right? Well, just remember when the hammer blow strikes, I’ll be paying for your’s and you’ll get all the meds and treatments you need for as long as you need them. If you’re complaining about health care costs, you are one ignorant and ungrateful hump.
Tom LaBelle lives in Clearview.