How much would you pay not to barf?

How much would you pay for freedom from disease or disability?

When I was a teenager, some friends started a peculiar discussion.

The topic?

How much would you pay if you could skip the next time you were supposed to throw up?  How much would it be worth it to you to not barf your guts out one time?

The verdict amongst a handful of teenage boys was about $20. Now I might actually pay significantly more than that.

How much would you pay to be free from barfing the next time fate decided it was your turn to barf? Say it was going to be tonight. So that instead of staying up half the night tonight throwing up and feeling like roadkill tomorrow, you simply slept peacefully tonight and had a great day tomorrow. How much would you pay?


How much would you pay to skip your next root canal or cavity filling with no consequences?

How much would it be worth it to you to not pull your back out next time it “should” have happened?

What’s the dollar figure you’d shell out to skip your next terrifying migraine headache?

What would you pay to avoid the pain and discomfort of breaking your leg and wearing a cast or being in a wheelchair for 6 weeks?

The reality is, of course, we can’t do that.

We cannot pay to avoid being sick or to avoid the painful or extreme unpleasantness of some health-related event…or can we?

We may not be able to pay a la carte to avoid these specific difficult experiences as individuals, but we can pay both as individuals and as a society for advances in medical treatments such as stem cell research that will payoff in a big way overall to reduce human suffering.

While the idea of barfing even once is bad, imagine you are on chemo and have to spend seemingly endless periods of time throwing up. Some sort of chemo may always be necessary for certain cancer treatments, but maybe not always for all of them.

Maybe the idea of being in a legcast, possibly in a wheelchair for 6 weeks sounds like torture to you, but imagine you have a spinal cord injury and face a lifetime in a wheel chair? Stem cell research offers hope here, but funding is the engine for this revolution.

We may all bemoan the occasional unpleasant health experience like vomiting all night, but for many of us the health situation facing us or our loved ones is far more serious and goes beyond unpleasant. The best hope for many of these situations is stem cell research. Stem cell research isn’t cheap to be sure, but sometimes you get what you pay for and the potential benefits of stem cell research are also not small, but rather tremendous.


2 thoughts on “How much would you pay not to barf?”

  1. Rich,
    The FDA is composed of people, which means by definition they are affected by cancer, als, ms, and everything else just as much as the rest of us.
    Their responsibility is to be very strict about safety and efficacy, but maybe there is a way to maintain that and yet at the same time move things forward fast too?
    One thing I do not know, and maybe you readers can answer this for me, is does the FDA have patient advocates in leadership positions and as advisors the same admirable way that CIRM does?

  2. Excellent question.

    I wonder how much faster the fda would move on these developments if they were all affected by cancer, als, ms, etc….and I don’t mean on the periphery…I mean up close and personal!

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