Dr Belding Scribner and the For Profit Motive

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Dr. Belding Scribner was the inventor of the Scribner Shunt and one of the heroes of kidney dialysis.  He had the following to say about the for-profits in medicine:


“When Medicare began covering chronic dialysis in 1972, for-profit institutions sprung up to offer the treatment. Scribner turned down positions with these organizations, remembers Young. “Scribner took on the for-profits because he was first and foremost the patient’s advocate,” says Young. “He really loathed all of what he considered to be the abuse of the technology to make a big profit.” Scribner also became an advocate for more convenient and less costly home dialysis treatments, which he helped develop when a 16-year-old girl was rejected by the advisory committee. “



“Scribner, who retired in 1990, created the first community dialysis unit, the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center, at Seattle's Swedish Hospital and was an advocate of non-profit dialysis centers.

"Although Belding Scribner is internationally renowned for his innovative clinical research, his motivation came from his role as a physician caring for patients," said Paul Ramsey, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the UW School of Medicine. "Countless people are alive today because of his pioneering innovation."



“"Kidney dialysis today has become predominantly a for-profit business," said Joyce Jackson, current director of the Northwest Kidney Center. Watching the profit motive take over health care had been tremendously distressing to Dr. Scribner, Jackson said, and up until his last days he remained active in trying to expand public access to this life-saving treatment.

"The desire for profit in medicine and the desire by medical researchers to capture intellectual property disturbed him," agreed Larson.”