“First Do No Harm”
In the winter of 2012 Sally Roberts’ faced the unthinkable when her seven-year-old son was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma. He had a full resection, leaving no trace of cancer but was bound to a protocol which threatened devastating side effects.
With no solid evidence proving radiotherapy worked, Sally contested the treatment. With doctors insisting radiation must start within forty-two days after the operation, certain the treatment would do more harm than good and needing more time to find a more suitable way forward, Sally absconded, seeking out safer therapies outside the UK.
“I thought the NHS would back off as he would no longer be part of their forty-two-day trial. No such luck. They took him away in the middle of the night and what they had previously considered scar tissue, they said was remnant tumour. After second-look surgery, he would be back to day one of the forty-two days – and could be put back on their trial.”
Seven years on Sally shares her story. Trial by media and biased coverage only scratch the surface of what Sally endured. The proton treatment blocked by the NHS has since emerged as a mainstream preference and declared a state-of-the-art treatment.
This story deserves to be told: a mother open to attack for daring to search for more advanced therapies. Moreover, with the medical mindset having come full circle, herein lies the paradox; is it he who defines the terms wins the arguement?
We stray far from a fair and balanced heathcare system when treatment pathways are pre-determined and the all-powerful medical tyranny enforces conventional medicine that is based on assumption and not at all scientific. Is there a mismatch of priorities? How can we bring back balance to a system overlooking the obvious? How much longer will we accept the one-size-fits-all approach that rules out personalised plans and medical malpractice is the norm rather than the exception?