Stem Cell Research is declared controversial because of religious mis-interpretations. Yet deeply religious people with stem cell treatable medical handicaps pray for research that one day may cure their disease.
We hear from all sides today about how this or that should or shouldn’t be done. Not only does it seem that every one has an opinion of what’s right and what’s wrong, they do not hesitate to impose that opinion upon you. Years ago, when I was a fire rescue professional we always noticed how grateful families are at 2 am when we would bring in a critical patient who had just been involved in a car wreck. The family could not thank the doctor enough for saving their loved one’s life. But within two days in the hospital the same family members turned into overnight medical experts with an opinion. It seemed that no matter what was being done for the patient, they knew best. The same doctor they were profusely thanking just two nights before, was now being questioned why this or that was being done.
The same goes for people who think they know everything concerning complicated matters such as Stem Cell Research. Will it work? And if so how many people could it help? There seems to be a movement that somehow this is wrong as in interfering with God’s work and should be banned. At that point I always have to interject the question: “If you were the person with the medical handicap, would you not jump on board that train. If you lived with someone who is handicapped, as I am, I know your opinion would be different, especially when things get worse over time.
Retinitis Pigmentosa Research
One area of Stem Cell Research I keep a close watch on is that of eye conditions such as Retinitis Pigmentosa. Retinitis is a condition that affects approximately one in three thousand, or about 1.5 million people worldwide. There are specialized cells in the retina called the retinal pigment epithelium that maintain vision. Retinitis pigmentosa results from the death of these cells. People with RP usually start with tunnel vision and then gradually they become worse until total blindness sets in. My daughter has RP and is almost totally blind at this stage.
Columbia University is doing extensive research on RP and Stem Cell Research. To date they have made great strides in their work and it seems they may be on to something that could help these patients with RP. Who is going to question whether it is right or wrong? That would be a question you could ask the patient with the condition as well as the people around them that sacrifice day after day. Why this suffering it stem cell treatment could heal or relieve.
I don’t think a clear answer can be given by one who has no clue what it is like to live with any handicap. I for one hope the studies at the different Universities and medical research centers will come up with answers for RP and for the many different medical conditions many of us have to live with. Most of us don’t believe like Pat Robertson that every human suffering is the result of a pact with the devil.