CAMBRIDGE, Mass G- Without apologies to Shakespeare, JohnAbele, co-chairman of Boston Scientific Corp., flashed on thescreen at the MIT conference here "The Seven Stages in theEvolution of an Idea:"
1. Idea stage: "Won't work. Been tried before."2. Successful experiments in animals: "Won't work in man."3. After one successful clinical patient: "Very lucky!"4. After four or five clinical successes: "Highly experimental, toorisky, immoral, unethical. I understand they've had a numberof deaths they're not reporting."5. After 10-15 patients: "May succeed occasionally in carefullyselected cases, but most patients with the defect don't need theoperation anyway."6. After a large series of successes: "So-and-so in Shangri-Lahas been unable to duplicate their results. Not practical. Onlyexperts can do it. I hear that a number of their patients arenow dying late deaths."
7. Final stage: "You know, this is a very fine contribution! Astraightforward solution to a difficult problem. I predicted this.In fact, in 1929. I had the same idea. Of course, we did notpublish anything, nor did we have penicillin, cortisone and fineanesthesia in those days. @"
Abele, a member of a panel on "International HarmonizationEfforts and the Implications for Local Research," credited ITheSeven Stages" to C. W. Lillihei, an outstanding American heartsurgeon during the 1950s and '60s.
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