Bone Marrow Transplant... Decisions, Decisions

July 26, 2011

Body

medication-fridge-botswanaThis is the medication fridge. A bit disorganized yes, but it's all we have on the ward to store meds that need to stay cold. Also, the door doesn't close properly, so you have to really push it hard to get a seal. Otherwise, it stays open and obviously those medications will be stored incorrectly. So what does that have to do with bone marrow transplant (BMT)? Well, there are those who want to do a BMT or have to get a BMT in South Africa and return for aftercare here. It's a tough decision because on the one hand BMT could be available to patients by raising money and going down south. It could possibly even result in a cure for certain conditions. However, there are obviously risks. One organization cares for hundreds of kids. A BMT in the States is about $350,000. I saw a quote for 250,000 Rand ($35,000 U.S.) and I'm not sure how they can manage that exactly. This organization probably could raise 350 Rand, that's over two million pula, but how can they possibly justify using that much money for one kid when they could spend it on all their kids? It's not an easy question of course. The clinician in me says, "help the kid in front of me!" The public health background says, "help the rest!" What do you think you would say?

Post by:

Parth Subhash Mehta, MD

Dr. Parth Mehta is the Director of the Global Oncology Program. Before relocating back to the United States, Dr. Mehta lived in Africa from 2007 to 2011. Dr. Mehta served as the Director of the Haemophilia and Oncology Clinic of Botswana at the Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, Botswana....

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