Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Are Lawyers Next?
Or Are They about to be Replaced?

BenS sent me this story from the NYTimes (registration required):

Flesh-eating maggots and bloodsucking leeches, long thought of as the tools of bygone medicine, have experienced a quiet renaissance among high-tech surgeons, and for two days beginning Thursday a federal board of medical advisers will discuss how to regulate them.Leeches, it turns out, are particularly good at draining excess blood from surgically reattached or transplanted appendages. As microsurgeons tackle feats like reattaching hands, scalps and even faces, leeches have become indispensable.

And maggots clean festering wounds that fail to heal, as among diabetics, better than almost anything else, although their use in the United States has been slight, in part because of squeamishness.

But of course the NYTimes seems to lament the lack of regulation:
But neither leeches nor maggots have ever been subject to thorough regulation by the Food and Drug Administration. So the medical advisers are being asked to create general guidelines about how they should be safely grown, transported and sold.

Gee, it seems to me this market has been functioning very well without guidelines and regulations. One reason is likely that the threat of malpractice suits encourages microsurgeons to keep up with changes in technologies and with standard practices. When the tort system works effectively, there is little or no reason for regulation, too.

But it might very well be the threat of litigation that encourages microsurgeons to want to establish "guidelines" so as to have a standard against which to defend themselves.
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