Is this a case of ethical blinders?
Today's New York Times has an important story about the ineffectiveness of removal of lymph nodes for certain women with breast cancer. That is a significant result of clinical research. But read this:
Experts say that the new findings, combined with similar ones from earlier studies, should change medical practice for many patients. Some centers have already acted on the new information. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan changed its practice in September, because doctors knew the study results before they were published.
And they felt no need to spread the word quickly to other hospitals and to breast cancer patient advocacy groups and help women across the world avoid the surgery and its after-effects? (As noted in the article, "It can cause complications like infection and lymphedema, a chronic swelling in the arm that ranges from mild to disabling.")
Paul Levy is the former President and CEO of Beth Israel Deconess Medical Center in Boston. For the past five years he blogged about his experiences in an online journal, Running a Hospital. He now writes as an advocate for patient-centered care, eliminating preventable harm, transparency of clinical outcomes, and front-line driven process improvement at Not Running a Hospital.