Friday, June 16, 2017

The (Medicine) Science Is Settled?! Some Gospel Treatments of Only 20 Years Ago Have Undergone Complete Reversals and/or Been Entirely Dropped

When, not too many years ago, I took a first aid crash course, I was astonished to learn that something once as central as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation had been entirely dropped from the first aid "kit" (I know, if I were a teenage boy — and girl — I would be using the word "disappointed" with winking smileys galore).

Dropped in favor of heart massage. (To the tune of, I am not making this up, Stayin' Alive…)

What does this teach us, if not that — and sometimes in the most astonishing ways — the science is never settled?

Take something requiring a far more professional intervention: as far as gunshot victims are concerned, the New York Times's Gina Kolata explains that today a patient
may undergo two to 10 operations, said Dr. Jeremy Cannon, a trauma surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania, and may remain in the hospital anywhere from days to several months.

Still, the are far better than in the old days, before the early 1990s, when surgeons tried to do all the repairs at once, operating for hours at a time.

In a study that changed medical practice, surgeons found that trauma patients with the most severe abdominal injuries who received one long operation had just a 15 percent survival rate. But those with the same sort of injuries who got multiple operations to repair the damage had a survival rate of 77 percent.

The lesson for surgeons is that long operations can be fatal to trauma patients. “The body can only take so much,” said Dr. Thomas Scalea, a trauma surgeon at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Surgeons now employ the multistage approach.

These days trauma patients who do not bleed to death right away usually recover, said Dr. Sean Montgomery, a trauma surgeon at Duke University.

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