Prasad takes

‘do no harm’

oath to heart

Dr. Vinay Prasad never planned on becoming a public advocate. He was headed for a career in private practice until his third year of medical school, when he began to see “warning signs” that best practices often were being ignored. During his internship in a hospital cardiac intensive-care unit, a woman patient he was treating suffered a complication from a stent, which motivated him to review the clinical trials that had been conducted for stents. He learned that his patient was unlikely to have benefited at all from the device.

“She experienced harm without possibility of benefit,” Prasad wrote about the experience. “What about our oath to ‘do no harm?’ ”

That’s what got him looking at all the drugs and procedures that were being widely used despite evidence that they weren’t the most effective.

In its review of the book Prasad co-authored, “Medical Reversals,” The New York Times called it “a subtly subversive book in need of a considerably snappier title.” Prasad says he’s comfortable being called subversive.

“We’re not calling for anarchy,” he says. “We’re calling for a shift to evidence.”

— Peter Korn

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