Maybe it's because my family has adopted two "shelter dogs" that I noticed this story reported here and here by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
To summarize, a neuro-surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic "caused an aneurysm in the brain of a large, mixed-breed dog" to demonstrate the use of a medical device made by Micrus Endovascular Corp, "staged for the manufacturer's salespeople." So, "about two-dozen salespeople watched the demonstration Wednesday at at least some participated in a hands, on exercise.... The dog was anesthetized during the procedure and afterward was killed." Although the surgeon had submitted "an application to the hospital's Institutional Animal Control and Use Committee.... The doctor had not heard back from the committee before the demonstration and wrongly assumed it was OK.... But the [Cleveland Clinic] spokeswomen said the committe would have rejected the request because it does ot allow doctors to use animals for the sole purpose of sales training."
An accompanying editorial, entitled "Death of a Salesdog," in the Plain Dealer noted, "it's one thing to sacrifice animals in the name of legitimate medical research. It's another to do so to promote sales of a product. The clinic neurologist [sic] apparently missed that crucial distinction."
It's just one incident, involving one dog, but it graphically illustrates that when it comes to marketing pricy health care products, common sense and notions of morality seem to go out the window. Have they no shame?
I should also add that although the neurosurgeon's unfeeling actions surely deserve censure, so too do the participation by the Micrus Endovascular Corp. salespeople, and the presumed endorsement of this activity by the company marketers. We should certainly hold physicians and surgeons to high ethical standards, but there also ought to be some ethical standards for the manufacture and marketing of health care devices that are meant to be used in humans (or dogs).
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