Friday, March 30, 2012

We Live in a Sick Society...Part 3

If you missed Part 1 Click Here, If you missed Part 2, Click Here

3) The Medical Profession makes us sicker! Quick, name the five leading causes of death in America! Don't google it! If you are like most people, your list will probably have heart disease, cancer, diabetes, maybe accidents or stroke, things like that.
You would be right about heart disease being Number 1 and cancer being Number 2...but what's Number 3?
According to Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, 250,000 deaths per year are caused by medical errors, making this the third-largest cause of death in the U.S., following heart disease and cancer.
Broken down, it looks like this:
 106,000 Non-error, negative effects of drugs
 80,000 Infections in hospitals
 45,000 Other errors in hospitals
 12,000 Unnecessary surgery
 7,000 Medication errors in hospitals
 250,000 Total deaths per year from iatrogenic* causes
 * The term iatrogenic is defined as "induced in a patient by a physician's activity, manner, or therapy.  Used especially to pertain to a complication of treatment."

Furthermore, these estimates of death due to error are lower than those in a recent Institutes of Medicine report.  If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.  Even at the lower estimate of 225,000 deaths per year, this constitutes the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
Dr. Starfield offers several caveats in the interpretations of these numbers:
First, most of the data are derived from studies in hospitalized patients.
Second, these estimates are for deaths only and do not include the many negative effects that are associated with disability or discomfort.
Third, the estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the IOM report.  If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.  In any case, 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer.  Even if these figures are overestimated, there is a wide margin between these numbers of deaths and the next leading cause of death (cerebro-vascular disease).

 When I was little, if my grandad got an episode of heartburn, he stirred a teaspoon of baking soda into a cold glass of water and drank it. Problem solved.
Go to a drugstore and check out the aisle that has heartburn remedies today.
Holy Cow!
Or ANY aisle with over the counter medications, for that matter.
There is not just a dozen choices for a medication to relieve heartburn or dry up a runny nose or banish a headache...there are several dozens, sometimes well over a hundred medications to "cure" whatever ails you. 
Prescription medications have also multiplied alarmingly, along with their side effects. 
Drug companies advertise on every t.v. program. Depressed? Take this!( Never mind that side effects can kill you...or make you want to kill yourself.) Have arthritis? Take this! (But it may cause you to develop lung cancer! Not joking...just saw that ad today) Eczema? Psoriasis? Take these! (Ignore the side effect that lowers your immune system to the point you can develop severe infections) 
And doctors hand out prescription with a free hand.
Drug companies woo doctors with gifts and free samples and trips to "conferences" in the Caribbean or other exotic locales to insure that doctors will continue to pass out their drugs.
And patients comply with doctors orders and gulp down every pill and potion handed out to them, all in the hope that their "trusted physician" knows what is best for them.
The worst thing today is the habit doctors have of handing out antibiotics for darn near every sniffle and cough. Because of this, many antibiotics are no longer effective.
New infections, such as MRSA have become common in hospitals.
Contributing greatly to this are the antibiotics dumped by the ton into animal feeds.Cattle, poultry, pigs, turkeys...if it is meant for the general consumer market, unless it is certified organic, the meat on a supermarket shelf is chock full of antibiotics.
Drug companies pushed antibiotics (and growth hormones, among other drugs) onto livestock producers...I guess those drug companies were not making a big enough profit off of people...and convinced the producers that their livestock would grow faster and healthier, fatten up faster and meatier, etc. And the livestock producers bought...and bought...and bought...and so did we. Every night across America, families sit down to delicious meals........ seasoned with antibiotics. (Vegans aren't off the hook...unless they grow all their own food from certified heirloom seed, they are probably chowing down on a plate full of GMO veggies and grains!) 
And the medical profession in this country went right along with the drug companies. I guess they need the income, too.
When I was a kid, some 40 to 50 years ago, we went to a G.P. (General Practitioner) or a pediatrician when we were sick. Look at all the specialties now!  It used to be that neurologists were a "big city" specialty. Now you can find one or two in towns with populations of less than 20,000, sometimes 10,000.Same goes for Pediatric Oncologists and just about every other specialty. 
Here's another shocker: the medical community in this country (okay, some in Europe are on the bandwagon, too) have CREATED "conditions"and "diseases"! Of course, if there is a disease or condition, then there has to be a treatment. A treatment usually entails the prescribing of a medication. Medications enrich the drug companies, who, in turn, employ doctors and those doctors happily come up with new diseases and conditions to justify their high salaries.
Look, I am not blaming ALL doctors, but I do personally feel that the medical profession in the US has helped us become this sick society.
And we, ourselves, are to blame as well. Parents pleading with a doctor "Can't you give Susie something for this cold?" and the doctor sighs and writes out a prescription for penicillin just to make them happy....because he knows if he doesn't, those parents might pick a different doctor for little Susie.
We propel this machine with our dollars. WE buy the antacids, nasal sprays, headache remedies. WE push our doctors to pull out those prescription pads for sleeping pills or diarrhea. WE expect every tiny ache, pain, sniffle and sneeze to magically go away with a pill. WE watch those ads on t.v. and believe them and then rush off to our doctor's office and demand this new treatment or pill.

Medicine can be a wonderful thing. My life and the lives of my children have benefited from modern medicine. I have been saved by doctors as have some of my kids. However, I have also been misdiagnosed, given the wrong prescription and almost killed by doctors, too. My eldest daughter was misdiagnosed once and almost died. Only because I questioned the doctors diagnosis and treatment and got a second opinion fast was she able to survive. 
Doctors, drug companies and the medical profession are not a coalition of god-like beings. They are human, just like the rest of us. Some are profit-driven, only in it for the money. Others genuinely care about their patients well-being. 
WE have to more carefully choose our doctors. WE have to make better decisions about our own health, diets, exercise, etc. WE have to listen to those ads more carefully. WE have to be more involved in our own health care.WE have to demand that the FDA ban antibiotics in animal feed.

Tomorrow, Part 4....What's the Cure for a Sick Society? Steps you can take now!


  1. That's why we only get medicine if we're really bad off. I know not all doctors are evil & not all medicine is bad, but error does happen.
    When I had my miscarriage they gave me pain meds & only after stopping them was I able to get out of bed.
    They also tried to put my Kiddo on ADD meds, even though she tested negative. Turns out the school systems get $1000 per child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.
    You really have to use common sense when treating illness. Colds, flu, etc will go away without treatment if you just take care of yourself.

  2. I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this series of articles. Just now got caught up and wow! You know what the last few months have been like for me and the mrs.I could right a series of articles just commenting on yours! this is great stuff.

    the rat


Because of a couple of rude people that left comments that included links to porn pages and such, I have been forced to start moderating comments again.