20/20: PEER REVIEW FAILURE, HEART SURGEON GENIUS!

Bert Gold bgold at itsa.ucsf.edu
Sat Jun 15 13:15:41 EST 1996


The remarkable story on 20/20 last night concerning the new
surgical procedure in which enlarged ventricular cavities are
removed with propitious consequences for most all patients had
an important take-home lesson in it for peer review:

Not only was the procedure perfected in a small, jungle hospital
by a capable Brazilian heart surgeon faced with legions of
parasite infected patients predisposed to the heart enlargement
condition (necessity being the mother of invention), but,

His national televised explanation of 'sneaking in to a cardiovascular
surgery meeting, after numerous REJECTIONS, and presenting
a videotape of his surgical technique' to the astonishment, amazement
and chagrin of the audience there, should give us pause.

It must not be forgotten by those of us in Medicine that
Paul Simmelweiss, the surgeon who suggested washing between procedures,
died on the street, a penniless pauper, because the members of his
profession thought him a fool.

More proof for me of an objective reality: For those among us who
refuse to acknowledge inventiveness, perseverence and creativity are
fools; not those who espouse these sacred human traits.

 Bert Gold, Ph.D.                         "Seeing much, Suffering much,
 University of California, San Francisco   and studying much,
 School of Medicine                        These are the three pillars
 Program in Medical Genetics               of learning." -- Benjamin Disraeli







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