The Lie Files



Medical miracle
Seldom is a scientific advance legitimately described as a "breakthrough." But British gynecologist Malcolm Pearce has perfected a medical method so smart, so efficient, and so, well, fiendishly clever, that colleagues are sure to copy it.

the operation was a successIn fact, we suspect Pearce may have adapted the techniques of Richard Meinertzhagen, the pioneering British ornithologist.

Pearce published the research that ensured his claim to fame in 1994, describing a surgical fix for ectopic pregnancy. In these ill-fated pregnancies, the embryo implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. Because only the uterus can provide the blood supply and nutrition a developing fetus needs, ectopic pregnancies always fail.

Ectopic pregnancies are dangerous. Generally, the condition announces itself by severe abdominal pain. In some cases, massive bleeding kills the woman. In 1989, the problem caused 88,400 hospitalizations in the United States.

Medical research takes work -- usually.

Although Pearce cited two cures for the condition in the medical literature, there was no accepted treatment. In other words, ectopic pregnancy was the perfect problem for a man with Dr. Pearce's skills.

His fix, described in the 1994 British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was to suck the embryo from its lodging point in the fallopian tube. He prepared the uterus for embryo implantation by removing a layer of cells, then squirted the embryo into the uterus through the cervix. The embryo implanted into the uterine wall, and "The patient was discharged home on the fourth post-operative day," Pearce wrote.

When a healthy infant was delivered of the woman, Pearce claimed that he and his colleagues had achieved "the first successful relocation via the cervical route."

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The Why Files
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