Suppose we are wrong?
I spoke with a friend who happens to be a doctor about some rather “new age” theory or another. He said, “Show me the data, then I will believe you.” ?I answered him, “You doctors and scientists make a mistake by always wanting the data before you will believe something. Sometimes the data is not yet available but that does not make the thing less true.”
People used to believe the world was flat. Before Christopher Columbus, there was no data, but that did not mean that the world was not round the whole time. Gravity was gravity long before Newton catalogued it. To me it is so obvious that it is hard for me to understand this attitude of “show me the data”.
If that were the only attitude nothing new would ever be discovered or if it were, it would be ignored. Of course that happens all the time. Doctors have consistently ignored alternative medicine. When I was a girl I heard people scoff at the Chinese for there “primitive” treatment with needles, which turned out to be acupuncture. ?I use it regularly, these days. Recently I heard that young students in medical schools are demanding classes in alternative treatments. That made me smile. ?However it is shocking that it has to happen that way. ?It is because the actual faculty is either too narrow-minded or worse too frightened of being thought “different” to bring these treatments into the curriculum. And the fact that the pharmaceutical companies pay for many medical school’s buildings, equipment, faculty, may have something to do with the fact that these schools have taught almost exclusively drug related treatments. Talk about a conflict of interest! I believe it is time to rethink medicine in the United States. It has become over priced and unwieldy. It is often ineffective. Those who believe in complementary medicine or treatments are often unjustly punished and even incarcerated. It is a travesty, when death by medical error is by some counts the largest cause of death in this country. (and by a more conservative count it is only number 3 as chief cause of death.) Many of those who have been hounded out of the country for trying to help desperately sick people with treatments that seem unconventional to the medical profession, have never had a single patient die from their treatments.
2 thoughts on “Suppose we are wrong?”
How right you are Bonnie about all of it. Unfortunately, we live in a society that loves to litigate against doctors. Most are practicing in CYA mode. If they try something out of the box, they know that if it fails, they stand the high likelihood of getting sued and if it is not “evidence-based medicine” that they practiced, they know they might as well just go ahead and sign the check. It is a shame when practicing really good medicine puts you at such ridiculous risk. Most physicians are reasonably conservative and not huge risk takers, so they are not likely to put their necks out to rock the boat until the situation just becomes too intolerable. Pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry control medicine right now. Physicians blindly allow themselves to be bound up by a hippocratic oath that no longer is effectively serving us, the health care profession, or the patients that we pledge to serve. Unless physicians decide to galvanize as a group dedicated truly to the interest of medicine and patients (not the AMA), it will be patients and the incoming medical students/future physicians that will be the major catalyst for change. I think we are seeing that begin. I also see ripples in the physician water as concierge medicine and other innovative physician driven health care models are getting a firmer hold. The American medical system is broken and action is beginning to occur, so change is beginning to occur. For every action there is a reaction. That is when we see change.
Great article Bonnie, and so true. So what do we do? Keep the focus on what it is we want, and believe that the shift will come when more people believe. It’s sad that something tragic needs to happen to turn people.
Cheryl you have a point, Pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry do control medicine right now, and how it is practiced, so maybe it is time for doctors to stand will the rest of us and not be afraid to speak up. United we stand, divided we fall.
Let us all unite. 🙂