Behind Kennedy Tumor Surgery: Rally of Top Experts

Senator is able to summon leading experts to advise on his case
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2008 8:40 AM CDT
Sens. Ted Kennedy and Barack Obama watching President Bush's 2007 State of the Union Address.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – After his brain cancer diagnosis, Ted Kennedy wielded extraordinary clout to convene a  panel of more than a dozen top experts from around the country for a conference—with some doctors flying to Boston and some on the phone—that changed the course of his treatment. Kennedy opted for surgery at Duke University, apparently overruling the original advice from Massachusetts General to rely on radiation and chemotherapy. The New York Times looks at  Kennedy's unusual strategy for accessing top talent, and the conflicting opinions about the efficacy of surgery.

Kennedy, in fact, took similar action for both his son and daughter when they were diagnosed with cancer, and he helped John Kerry do the same for his wife. “Teddy recommended specifically getting a group of doctors together from different places and different approaches and get them all on a call so that you can force different theories to be tested," said Kerry. "The process was unbelievably effective."