Tuesday, Sept 23, 2008
A pill for this … an operation for that. There is no end to the ways that modern medicine can make you bigger, better, stronger, sexier, healthier … right?
After all, a prescription drug is the panacea for just about anything that makes your body less than perfect, isn’t it?
And you can always count on your doctor to give you accurate, reliable information … wouldn’t you agree?
A closer look might suggest otherwise.
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Most of you know that the U.S. spends far more on health care in actual dollars and as a percentage of GDP than does any other country. Much of it is due to the constant research and development of new drugs, the deep pockets of big pharmaceutical companies, the cost of malpractice insurance, managed care, and expensive government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Yet, the U.S. ranks embarrassingly low among industrialized countries in both life expectancy and infant mortality. The U.S. now ranks LAST out of 19 countries for unnecessary deaths – deaths that could have been avoided through timely and effective medical care. The reasons for this are complex and often debated; however, one contributing factor often NOT considered is the risk of medical treatment itself.
How dangerous is conventional medicine?
One-third of adults with health problems reported mistakes in their care in 2007, and rates of visits to physicians or emergency departments for adverse drug effects increased by one-third between 2001 and 2004.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that drug overdoses killed 33,000 people in 2005 — second only to car accidents in the category of accidental deaths — up from 20,000 in 1999, and 10,000 in 1990. Contrary to popular belief, this major increase in drug overdoses is not due to a heroin or crack epidemic. These deaths are largely due to prescription drugs.
In addition to accidental prescription drug overdoses, an estimated 106,000 hospitalized patients die each year from drugs that, by medical standards, are properly prescribed and properly administered!
But wait … isn’t your doctor supposed to be helping you by having your best interests at heart? Isn’t he or she obligated to practice under the Hippocratic Oath, sworn to “do no harm”?
It can be assumed for the most part that the majority of doctors throughout history have treated their patients with the intention of promoting health.
Certainly there have been the occasional evildoers, such as the ruthless Nazi concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele1 who escorted countless children to their deaths, but such blatantly sinister types are fortunately few.
Why Do You Place Such Blind Trust in Your Doctors?
A Gallup Poll from December of 2006 compared how people rated the honesty and ethical standards of people of various professions. Doctors were rated “very high” for honesty and ethics and were fourth from the top of the list at 69 percent, exceeded only by veterinarians, pharmacists and nurses, who rated highest. In other words, 69 percent of people polled believed their doctors were honest and ethical.2
The Harris Poll from July of 2006 compared how likely people are to trust another person, based on the other’s profession. Doctors topped this list — 85 percent of the people polled believed they could trust their doctors, followed by 83 percent for teachers, and 77 percent for scientists.
Do you trust your doctor because he or she has earned it?
Or, do you trust your doctor because you have been brainwashed by 50 billion dollars a year of advertising by the food and drug industry, causing you to fear that you will suffer some awful fate if you don’t opt for the latest pill, surgical intervention or delight in the latest “necessary” procedure?
Throughout history, many well-meaning physicians have made enormous medical blunders. A few of the most blatant of these will be explored here.
The next time you are handed a prescription, you might want to consider some of medicine’s less celebrated history.
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 3:45 am