Hyperbole in the Laboratory

In the end, it always comes down to marketing. Yes, even for scientists – you know, the people that are painstakingly rooted in data, facts, evidence, etc.  They too benefit from hyperbole.

“A new study suggests it would be wildly expensive — more than $10 million per life saved — to require American high school and college athletes to undergo heart testing to weed out those at risk for fatal cardiac complications from playing sports.”

Let me be clear. If it costs $10 million to save the life of a child through mandatory heart screenings, then it is WAY too expensive – even wildly. I will contact our Board of Directors and recommend that we shut down Simon’s Fund.

But, wait a minute. I seem to remember a story . . .

A few years ago, the first car rolled off the assembly line.  Someone said (we’ll call him Sami), this is awesome. However, no one can afford these things.  It’s never going to last.” A few years later, Sami’s great great grandson drove to Service Merchandise and saw the first personal computer. “This is totally cool,” he proclaimed.  “It’s too bad that most of the world will never get one because these things are so expensive.”

Fortunately, it wasn’t up to Sami and his descendants to figure out how to make the automobile or PC more affordable or accessible. Other really smart, creative and talented folks stepped up to the challenge. Why does this happen?  Because when there is a need – whether it be  whimsical or lifesaving – humans figure out how to make it work.  In this case – when dealing with the lives of students – it is lifesaving.

Around this country, there are organizations like Simon’s Fund that are providing heart screenings for kids. It doesn’t cost $263 dollars to screen a child, like the study suggests.  I know because Simon’s Fund doesn’t spend anything close to that.  The actual number is closer to $25 per ECG exam.  Furthermore, it didn’t even cost $150,000 for Simon’s Fund to screen 5,500 students and help 49 children discover heart conditions.  Ten million dollars per life saved?

Our organizations, with the help of really committed doctors and progressive industry leaders are figuring this out. We’re finding ways to make checking hearts an affordable and effective standard of care because we know how important it is for the lives of our children.

Studies like this simply suggest that when people do things the way that they’ve always been done, change isn’t possible or affordable.  What purpose does a finding like this provide?  In a broken health care system, mandatory heart screenings are too expensive? Of course they are. Everything in our health care system is too expensive.

I got thrust into this world after my son died. I don’t want to be here for ever. I want to “get on with my life.” I want to find a solution. I hope that these brilliant and dedicated scientists will use their wisdom and insight to help us find a solution, instead of simply stating the obvious.

Link to Article on Study

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