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Interest in lung transplant at London event

Jim Nelson

Last month, I was talking about our invitation to present our story to a COPD Conference in London. We are back from our journey, and I just wanted you to know that it went better than we could have expected.

We do a lot of talking, teaching and just generally spreading awareness about lung disease, but we were a bit nervous about this one. We were to talk to an international audience of physicians, therapists, regulatory agency personnel, pharmaceutical company representatives and clinical researchers.

The response to our talk was very gratifying. It generated a lot of questions, especially about my lung transplant. It seems that we are somewhat unusual, both as patient and as caregiver, as there are only about 3,200 lung transplants per year worldwide. Consequently, the vast majority of the other participants in the conference had never even met a transplant recipient, let alone dealt with one on a clinical basis.

The other presentations were very interesting and informative for us.

Most of the other speakers were from countries that have socialized medicine, and there was much discussion about the pros and cons of that. Under that system, health care and related prescriptions are generally free to the patient.

However, the fact remains that the money must come from somewhere to pay those expenses. That somewhere is of course the government of that country.

This, unfortunately, sometimes results in the medicines coming from the lowest bidder. When that is the case, the pharmaceutical companies have less incentive to spend a lot of their time or money in the development of new and improved drugs. Despite this disincentive, there is some interesting research going on at the European universities that were represented. We actually understood some of it.

Jim Nelson is a former Glenwood Springs resident who works with regional and national cardiovascular and lung organizations.


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