The Medical Innovation Bill will save lives by supporting doctors who want to innovate and find new ways of treating disease.
Doctors, patients and judges will have much greater clarity as to what is negligent and dangerous practice by clinicians and what is careful and sensible innovation.
It will free your doctor to consider new treatments and ideas. But, and more importantly, it will allow the patient to demand innovative treatment.
One of the most famous examples of innovation is when Geoffrey Keynes, a doctor at Barts, refused to do what surgeons across the UK and US were doing with breast cancer – the Halsted method – whereby women with breast cancer faced a double mastectomy, and the removal of all tissue from the shoulder, to the chest wall, to ribs – anything and everything that could be removed without killing the women.
Keynes, alone, removed only the tumour and undertook radiotherapy, in combination. He was ridiculed and humiliated on a world stage. Halsted followers called it a ‘lumpectomy’ as a term of derision. Of course, today, the lumpectomy is standard procedure.
That was innovation.
Once passed, a patient, armed with the legislation, will be able to say to his or her doctor: ‘Are you trying everything? Can you do anything differently?’ The doctor will no longer need to say he or she cannot risk trying anything new. ”