Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The journey started from a phone call in the back of a taxi: Learning of clinical trials of new drugs.

Courtney Hudson's story
Late one Sunday evening In January 1999, my husband called me on his cell phone from a taxi. He was seriously ill and on his way to the hospital. The doctors were able to stabilize him temporarily, but they recommended additional surgery. My husband refused to undergo what would be a long, difficult operation that would require months of recovery. I was obviously upset - not only about my husband's condition, but also about his apparent unwillingness to accept treatment.

I was torn between the competing desires to respect his choices and for him to get treatment immediately. I began to search for treatment options, mainly through the Internet, but found the information presented too simplistic, too scientific, or too voluminous. By chance, a friend in California sent my husband an article about an alternative surgery that had only recently been developed. This surgery was being performed only a mile from our home in New York, yet we had never heard about it. My husband underwent the surgery, and today is doing fine.

We were lucky, but access to new treatment options, including clinical trials, should not be serendipitous. This is a time when pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies and the government have enlisted the support of nearly 50,000 doctors to conduct more than 10,000 clinical trials each year -- almost one-third are designed to test new drugs and therapies for cancer patients. Patients and families should have a way to find these new drugs and therapies without having to depend on luck.

After months of interviews with patients, advocates, caregivers, and researchers, Sarah Hutter, Glenn Rice and I founded EmergingMed.com in January 2000 to offer patients and their families a fast and easy way to find and understand available treatment options.

We have created the EmergingMed online matching and referral system to reliably connect patients directly to the doctors conducting clinical trials in a matter of minutes.

This personal journey, which started with a phone call from the back of a taxi, will hopefully benefit many others by providing more options for their own treatment and by accelerating the clinical research process that develops new drugs and therapies for all of us.

Advice to patients thinking of surgery: Figure out all your options first.

Read another clinical trial story.

Thanks to Courtney Hudson for the source at the EmergingMed.com website.

No comments: