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Words from MS patient Verna Mang

01/10/2010 15:48

Liberation Treatment Should Be a Non-Issue

Is dying better than angioplasty? Is progressively getting more disabled better than angioplasty? Is going blind better than angioplasty? Is lying in bed missing your kids growing up better than angioplasty?

We all know the choices we would make given these alternatives. Here in "democratic" Canada these choices have been taken away from people who have Multiple Sclerosis. Our federal and provincial governments have prevented doctors who want to help people from fulfilling the oath that they took when they became doctors.

Angioplasty is a well known, standard medical treatment. It is not a drug and clinical studies are not needed to prove that it is safe. The approximately 1,000 successful liberation treatments done to date around the world should be enough to encourage the Canadian health-care system to allow the treatment as an option to patients.

The arguments against the Liberation Treatment are: “it hasn't been proven to help people with MS”; “not all the clinics are using the Zamboni method”; “Stents are dangerous in veins”; “we only have anecdotal evidence of the results”; “we don’t know the long term impact”; “the veins can re-stenos”; “not everyone who has MS has CCSVI”.

If we don’t do the Liberation Treatment and track the results we will never be able to prove anything. There is a global community of doctors that are performing the procedure, sharing their experiences and learning and improving together. We are falling way behind because we are not even in the game! Thousands of dollars are leaving Canada because we refuse to listen. The MS Society is not listening to its members; the provincial and federal governments are not listening to their constituents; the health care systems are not listening to their patients. Brad Wall is the first person in power who has stepped forward to say we need to do this.

Pharmaceutical companies control the medical research that is done because they control the money. This procedure does not need pharmaceuticals so there is no money to do the procedure. Or so it would seem! Many people with MS: take drugs that cost over $20,000 a year – paid for by insurance companies and governments; are on disability – paid for by insurance companies and government; see doctors regularly – paid for by governments; have MRI’s – paid for by governments; don’t work and therefore don’t pay income tax and may be on social assistance – paid for by governments.

If we could change this scenario in just a few of the thousands of Canadians with MS we could easily pay to do the procedure, track the results and become part of the global medical community that is sharing information. We don’t need to do everything ourselves. We don’t need to prove everything ourselves. We could start with the many Canadians that have already had the treatment. Follow them, collect the data about them.

What we need to move this forward is:

-         Introduce compassionate legislation so that anyone can get medical treatment for compassionate reasons

·         Allow the Canadian doctors who’ve already been trained to start doing the Liberation Treatment

·         Allow other interested vascular specialists and radiologists to get the training that is needed to ensure they know how to test for CCSVI and do the angioplasty

·         Set up a tracking system to gather data about everyone who is tested and treated.

·         Include open minded neurologists to follow their patients before and after treatment

·         Connect with the global community of doctors to share information

If governments really feel that we can’t afford to do this, call it an elective procedure and charge a fee for having it done. At least the money would stay in Canada and benefit Canadians.

Most importantly, allow us to make a choice about our life. Don’t make the choice for us because you’re scared, sceptical, or think you know best.

Verna Mang

I’ve had the procedure and I’m improving for the first time in over 14 years.