Monday, July 30, 2007

Medicine for life

It appears that more Americans were killed by mistakes in the medical system in the past decade than where killed by wars in two hundred years.
And it is not limited to the US. According to the doctors' own statistics, in any country in the world where there's been a doctors' strike, death statistics fell during the strike! And then imagine how many errors are not registered as errors. Would you admit to killing somebody by giving him the wrong (or right) medicine?
This video has some quite astounding statistics.

Jerry said:
Why do you listen to and pass on hysterical, unattributed, "statistics" which are designed to sell products?
How is this better than the marketing used by the drug companies the video complains about?
This is built on the paranoia and fear mongering, not on reason, testing and science.

It could be. I hope so. But I think that if the statistics were not true, this guy would have been sued to oblivion a long time ago.

Pascal said:
I'm not going to feel targeted here, because I know you guys and what you truly mean. :-) [Note: Pascal is a doctor]

It's true that many doctors often forget the principle of primum non nocere, "first thing is to avoid causing harm". But it's not all one side's fault. It's not only because the pharmaceutical companies spend great effort in ADVERTIZING what should never have become consumption goods. The mentality of patients is also responsible in good part. Picture, if you will, a medic who says: "It's just a viral angina. Take a week's rest, vitamins, paracetamol, hot drinks, and it'll pass. You don't need antibiotics, they won't help anyway." Alas, he'll risk being confronted with the stereotypical: "What? I don't even get a prescription? What kind of lame doctor is that? I'm going to another one from now on."
It happens every day. :-(

Similarly, the fact that a definite diagnosis is seldom evident, something we learn very early on in Med School, is very hard to accept for many patients. To them, either the Doc is a fully confident god-like figure, or he's a loser. This creates a pressure in favor of misdiagnosis.

That's not to say that black sheep are not many, because they are. Heck, I always say, 1% rotten apples is more than enough to give any given group a bad rep. Immigrants, muslims, pious evangelists, citizens of any other country, the ethnic group of your choice... If one out of a hundred behave like rascals, it can be enough when seen on worldwide TV if you are ever so slightly inclined to prejudice.

And let's face it, pick any random group, and tell me honestly: can you guarantee that 99% of them are upstanding, or even just nice people? Not one bit likely. Extremist parties in the most civilized countries have an electoral core base of at least 5 to 7% visceral racists. Imagine 7% of Germans being potential rioting, jew-murdering neo-nazis. Imagine 7% of muslims being ready to slit an infidel's throat. Imagine 7% of doctors being exactly like Final Identity describes: greedy, unethical, incompetent, or all at once.

Now, imagine that this is probably a true figure, and you'll understand why there are still so many things wrong in even the most socially advanced country. 5 to 7% rotten apples, is one out of 14 to 20 people. It's not that much, but it's already a lot in any crowd, city or country.
And the proportion can grow far bigger in the "adequate" circumstances. For instance, with a charismatic fanatic telling you Right and Wrong, and peer pressure to approve of the "enlightened" person.

posted by Eolake Stobblehouse @ Monday, July 30, 2007   7 comments links to this post

7 Comments:

At 31 Jul 2007, 20:04:00, Blogger Jerry said...

Why do you listen to and pass on hysterical, unattributed, "statistics" which are designed to sell products?
How is this better than the marketing used by the drug companies the video complains about?
This is built on the paranoia and fear mongering, not on reason, testing and science.

 
At 1 Aug 2007, 14:52:00, Blogger Final Identity said...

I don't know whether the statistics are "hysterical" or just "negative." There's a difference. It isn't "hysteria" if the only point in which one might disagree with it, is the factuality. It would have to be strident, annoying, high-pitched, perhaps hand-wringing, for it to be "hysterical."

I also don't think those statistics are necessarily false, either. It's a sad but true statement about my life, that the two groups one perhaps most ought to trust -- doctors and police -- have been, 100% of the time, the two least competent groups of people I've ever had to interact with. Taking liberties because of the power we invest in them; rather than, as ought to be the case, taking care out of respect for that power. Every doctor I've ever met does it to get filthy rich, and cuts as many corners as he can find in the name of faster business. Every cop I've ever met does it to beat people up, and breaks as many rules as he can find in the name of feeling above the law and stroking his ego.

 
At 3 Aug 2007, 01:52:00, Anonymous Pascal said...

I'm not going to feel targeted here, because I know you guys and what you truly mean. :-)

It's true that many doctors often forget the principle of primum non nocere, "first thing is to avoid causing harm". But it's not all one side's fault. It's not only because the pharmaceutical companies spend great effort in ADVERTIZING what should never have become consumption goods. The mentality of patients is also responsible in good part. Picture, if you will, a medic who says: "It's just a viral angina. Take a week's rest, vitamins, paracetamol, hot drinks, and it'll pass. You don't need antibiotics, they won't help anyway." Alas, he'll risk being confronted with the stereotypical: "What? I don't even get a prescription? What kind of lame doctor is that? I'm going to another one from now on."
It happens every day. :-(

Similarly, the fact that a definite diagnosis is seldom evident, something we learn very early on in Med School, is very hard to accept for many patients. To them, either the Doc is a fully confident god-like figure, or he's a loser. This creates a pressure in favor of misdiagnosis.

That's not to say that black sheep are not many, because they are. Heck, I always say, 1% rotten apples is more than enough to give any given group a bad rep. Immigrants, muslims, pious evangelists, citizens of any other country, the ethnic group of your choice... If one out of a hundred behave like rascals, it can be enough when seen on worldwide TV if you are ever so slightly inclined to prejudice.

And let's face it, pick any random group, and tell me honestly: can you guarantee that 99% of them are upstanding, or even just nice people? Not one bit likely. Extremist parties in the most civilized countries have an electoral core base of at least 5 to 7% visceral racists. Imagine 7% of Germans being potential rioting, jew-murdering neo-nazis. Imagine 7% of muslims being ready to slit an infidel's throat. Imagine 7% of doctors being exactly like Final Identity describes: greedy, unethical, incompetent, or all at once.

Now, imagine that this is probably a true figure, and you'll understand why there are still so many things wrong in even the most socially advanced country. 5 to 7% rotten apples, is one out of 14 to 20 people. It's not that much, but it's already a lot in any crowd, city or country.
And the proportion can grow far bigger in the "adequate" circumstances. For instance, with a charismatic fanatic telling you Right and Wrong, and peer pressure to approve of the "enlightened" person.
(Was I aiming at the revolution of Khomeyni, or at Dubya's "God-oriented politics"? At atheist megalomaniac Stalin, or at the Pope? You take your pick.)

There's an election coming this Sunday in my area. People are at each other's throats, even in the middle of most families, and it's NOT a figure of speech. (Yes, Eolake, "literally". Sometimes.) Big-mouthed political leaders and their small-brained disciples... :-P

 
At 3 Aug 2007, 04:56:00, Blogger Final Identity said...

You have a lot of good reasons for WHY everything is all screwed up in traditional western medicine. :P

I heard that "ancient Chinese doctors" were paid by their healthy villagers. When you got sick, you stopped paying the doctor. He came to get his tithe, you refused him, and he could either fix you or do without his money.

 
At 4 Aug 2007, 03:22:00, Anonymous Pascal said...

That would never work in the West, Final. People over here love to complain too much. ;-)

China and its region is truly another planet sometimes.

 
At 4 Aug 2007, 04:16:00, Blogger Final Identity said...

Yeah they're not doing too well on the ol' exports lately ...

Maybe it was Thailand. Or Japan. I dunno, just an old wives tale.

I am one for avoiding the doctor. A generation or two older than me, there was an assumption that the doctor was like a mechanic and the body was like a machine, and when something got out of whack you just went to get the right fellow to cut the machine open and fix it.

More recently, the "fix" has started to include more after-the-disease ingestibles and a little less cut-the-machine-open, but it's still the same assumption -- illness itself is a problem to be found out and then alleviated. I know a young woman -- 35 I think -- who is all hyped up on "alternative" therapies, but she didn't manage to avoid the pitfall. She was recently diagnosed with VERY bad form of breast cancer.

Genetic propensity, terrible lifestyle, incredibly emotionally "absorptive" (takes all the negatives of the world and holds them to her ... breast). Maybe if she'd ever hit the gym, or just the walking track. Lots of soy milk in her diet, all that weird stuff from kashi and bulgar. But not much broccoli.

I guess I just see it more holistically. My body goes wrong ALL the time, but in MINOR manners, which I consistently fix, tweak, rearrange. I am at the task of fixing my body daily, regularly, all day every day. Food is a required repetitive fix; so is sleep; so ought to be walking about, stretching, yawning, blinking ...

It's a cultural thing.

Oh and I loved the Israel Kamakawakeole (spelling?) music. Much of that Hawaiian stuff is a bit too simplistic for me to remain enthralled by it for very long, but that fellow clearly loved to express himself with music, and the "Wonderful World / Over the Rainbow" medley hit his artistic peak just right. Sad story, him dying of drugs and obesity. Plenty of love for the world and for other people, not much for his own temple.

 
At 5 Aug 2007, 02:35:00, Anonymous Pascal said...

Minor health problems are no reason to go and DEMAND a treatment from the Doc. But we've been through this already. It's like the whole Western society has become one vast market, and people expect to be clients even to the Doctor. While, at the same time, they'll often neglect something that doesn't BOTHER them, like a mysterious, painless breast lump.

"Plenty of love for the world and for other people, not much for his own temple."

Yeah, whether you sell or just give away without counting, you've got to care for your providing source. Can't do much active loving if you're not alive and well...

 

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