MS Zamboni Treatment: Where are We Now?

There have been some additional developments on the MS Zamboni story since I blogged about it last week.  Mahir Mostic of St. Catherines, Ontario became the first Canadian known to have died from complications brought on by the MS Zamboni procedure.  According to reports, Mostic had progressive MS.  In June of this year, Mostic had the procedure (angioplasty plus stent) done at the Clinica Bibilca in San Jose, Costa Rica, at a cost of $30,000.  According to his girlfriend, Bedrana Jein, he returned to Canada and said he felt better.  However, over the next few months, his condition deteriorated.  Doctors in Canada found that a blood clot had formed around the stent.  When he was unable to find a doctor in Canada to treat him here, Mostic returned for treatment at the Clinica Biblica in Costa Rica, at a cost of $8000.  He died October 19, one day after doctors there attempted to dissolve the blood clot.  Mostic was 35 years old.

Since then, other patients have told the media they regret having had the MS Zamboni treatment  At the same time, proponents have stepped forward saying that risks -- including death -- should not preclude them from seeing the treatment. 

Over the next few months and years, there will be many more anecdotal accounts of the procedure.  People who feel better will extol the benefits; people and/or the survivors of those who have bad outcomes will warn others never to have the procedure.  Such is the nature of anecdotal evidence.

Patients and caregivers MUST put aside their biases and wait for controlled clincial trials.  These are taking place as we speak.  We'll have plenty of answers in the months ahead.  Successful patients will understandably want to encourage others to follow in their footsteps.   Again, I suggest encouraging others to seek information from unbiased sources. 

The other point that is becoming distressingly clear is that some health professionals have left MS patients who had the procedure feeling as if there is no one in Canada to manage complications.  It is unethical for MDs and other health professionals to refuse to offer help to patients who have received treatment abroad.  For instance, if a patient undergoes a kidney transplant abroad, doctors in Canada generally recognize they are obliged to manage any transplant complications that occur in returning patients.

MS patients deserve no less.  We will have more to say about this in the weeks to come. 

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