This blog written by @marcusbaw. It reiterates how important it is to share our stories, our innovations, and learn from each other.
What happens when medical innovations are kept secret?
History gives us a particularly appalling demonstration of the human consequences of secret medical treatments — the Chamberlen family of obstetricians — who for around 150 years kept secret their development of obstetric forceps. During the time that the innovation was kept hidden from the rest of the world, it is likely that hundreds of thousands of mothers and babies died as a result of the lack of this treatment.
Their secret forceps were found by accident hundreds of years later, and it was only then that it was realised how the Chamberlens had been delivering babies, using their proprietary technology, for the exceedingly rich and Europe’s royal families only.
It is because of such precedents that modern healthcare interventions are required to be openly published in peer-reviewed journals before they are taken seriously, indeed it would be unthinkable in the medical profession to offer a ‘secret’, unpublished intervention which was not openly published and its principles understood. To do so in the modern medical world would risk professional ridicule and the wrath of medical regulatory bodies, and would possibly even be a basis for criminal charges in some circumstances.