Dog killed at Cleveland Clinic in the name of medical salesmanship
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Dog killed at Cleveland Clinic in the name of medical salesmanship

A Dog was killed this week at the Cleveland Clinic to demonstrate a device;
Firm's salespeople watch procedure

Friday, January 12, 2007
Sarah Treffinger - Plain Dealer Reporter

A neurosurgeon on Wednesday caused an aneurysm in the brain of the large, mixed-breed dog so that a medical device could be used to treat the condition.

About two-dozen salespeople from the device's manufacturer watched the demonstration, and at least some participated in some sort of hands-on exercise, a Clinic spokeswoman said.

The dog was placed under anesthesia for the procedure and then killed afterward.

The incident took place without permission of the hospital's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which is supposed to review any request to work with animals.

The doctor, whom the Clinic did not identify, had submitted an application to the committee, but its members never had the opportunity to review it. They would have rejected it, the spokeswoman said, because the Clinic does not allow doctors to use animals for the sole purpose of sales training.

"The date of the event was coming up and [the doctor] hadn't heard there was a problem, so he wrongly assumed it was OK to proceed," the spokeswoman said.

The Clinic on Thursday was reporting the incident to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates animal welfare.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also got involved.

Shalin Gala, a research associate at PETA, said the organization received a tip Wednesday that salespeople from California-based Micrus Endovascular Corp. were training in the use of the MicroCoil system so they would be knowledgeable when making sales pitches.

The system allows for a less-invasive means than surgery to treat a brain aneurysm, a weak spot on a blood vessel that balloons out and fills with blood. The technique requires a doctor to thread coils through a catheter to the site of the aneurysm, trying to pack the aneurysm with enough coils to prevent blood flow.

Brain aneurysms can occur in anyone but are more common in adults than in children and slightly more common in women than in men, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. About 27,000 people suffer ruptured aneurysms each year in the United States.

Gala, of PETA, sent a letter to the president of Micrus Endovascular, asking him to stop Wednesday's training program and establish a "formal policy prohibiting the use of animals for training purposes."

To follow this developing story, see:
USDA to investigate death of dog at Cleveland Clinic - Plain Dealer - 01/13/07
Probe is sought of Cleveland Clinic dog use - Plain Dealer - 15 Jan 2007

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