Why I Don't Trust Doctors

by Josh Day

Largely, I do not trust doctors, and I certainly do not trust the American medical establishment.

I have never been comfortable around a physician for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the hierarchy between doctor and patient is a little too much like the relationship between the subjugator and the subjugated: take off your clothes, sit on this bench, say aahh, get ready for this shot, ingest these drugs, etc. If you trust the man or woman in the shamanistic white robe, then this hierarchy is natural and beneficial. However, if there is even the slimmest of doubts, the whole system is rendered bankrupt.

If you doubt your doctor's ability to solve your medical problems, then why do you go to his office and subject yourself to his pokings and proddings? When you give an M.D. control of your decisions, then by that action you make her the superior, and you the subordinate.

In most cases, the doctor-patient relationship is a flawed system. Below I offer some numbers that prove my point.

The following comes from a JAMA article written by Barbara Starfield, MD

"The medical system has played a large role in undermining the health of Americans. According to several research studies in the last decade, a total of 225,000 Americans per year have died as a result of their medical treatments:

  • 12,000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgery
  • 7000 deaths per year due to medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 deaths per year due to other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 deaths per year due to infections in hospitals
  • 106,000 deaths per year due to negative effects of drugs

Thus, America's healthcare-system-induced deaths are the third leading cause of the death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer."

According to Starfield's cited numbers, nearly a quarter million Americans are killed by the medical establishment each year. She goes on to say these deaths are third only to heart disease and cancer.

Heart disease and cancer are diagnosed by this same flawed system, so logic would purport that some of the deaths from the first and second causes of American mortality are actually direct results of misdiagnosis, unnecessary surgery, and the other factors listed above.

Given this argument, a conservative number of medical-induced deaths would be a quarter million a year, and a more liberal--and probably more accurate--number would be half a million people killed every year by doctors, drugs, and hospitals.

Half a million people.

And here we have the AMA quoting this outlandish number of 36,000 deaths related to last year's flu strain, as well as pushing a questionable and possibly worthless or dangerous vaccine.

"Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, the flu shot is recommended for an estimated 174 million Americans -- including those who are elderly, very young or immunocompromised, and those who work in the health care delivery system. Still, many people go without, leading to illness, complications and an average of 36,000 US deaths each year. Additionally, in the last two decades, flu-related hospitalizations have increased from 114,000 to more than 200,000 annually.

'That's unacceptable,' said AMA Trustee Herman I. Abromowitz, MD. He spoke at a Washington, D.C., briefing held last month by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the National Coalition for Adult Immunization.

Their message: Flu can be deadly but also can be prevented.

'The influenza virus ... must be taken seriously by the health care community, as well as the American public, every fall and every winter,' said William Schaffner, MD, NFID board member and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn."

According to these shamans in white lab coats, we are to take this dubious number of 36,000 seriously. That is a mere 7.2% of the whopping half million Americans who die under the scalpel, in the hospital room, or by dangerous chemicals injected into their bodies.

So what is to be done? Probing for answers from the rest of the industrialized world, Starfield looks at the Japanese health care system:

"By citing [the above] statistics, Starfield (2000) highlights the need to examine the type of health care provided to the US population. The traditional medical paradigm that emphasizes the use of prescription medicine and medical treatment has not only failed to improve the health of Americans, but also led to the decline in the overall well-being of Americans. Starfield’s (2000) comparison of the medical systems of Japan and the US captures the fundamental differences in the treatment approach. Unlike the US, Japan has the healthiest population among the industrialized nations. Instead of relying on sophisticated technology and professional personnel for medical treatment as in the US, Japan uses its technology solely for diagnostic purposes. Furthermore, in Japan, family members, rather than hospital staff, are involved in caring for the patients.

The success of the Japanese medical system testifies to the dire need for Americans to alter their philosophical approach towards health and treatment. In the blind reliance on drugs, surgery, technology and medical establishments, the American medical system has inflicted more harm than good on the US population. Starfield’s (2000) article is invaluable in unveiling the catastrophic effects of the medical treatments provided to the American people. In order to improve the medical system, American policymakers and the medical establishment need to adopt a comprehensive approach and critically examine the failure of the richest country in the world to provide decent health care for its people."

Starfield goes on to compare the medical establishment and the public's blind trust in the health care system to a cult. This is a very cogent argument and a perfect comparison.

The physicians of today are wealthy; they live in the nicest homes in the most upscale of neighborhoods, their "MD" is an honorific that marks them as "elect," and largely American society looks at them as life savers and hard workers who are well and rightfully rewarded for their skills and knowledge.

Then we come to the "patient." Patients sit in a "waiting room" for up to two hours before being ushered down a hallway, led into a tiny sterile room, made to wait from anywhere between a half an hour to an hour longer, and then they are seen by the doctor, a man or woman who has evolved to become above question or criticism. The patient is stripped, prodded, asked questions, and by this very limited information and observation a "diagnosis" is made and "treatment" follows.

Like Starfield said, a cult.

But this was not always the case in America.

What follows is a brief history of the "physician" from the Ferguson Report.

"Before the arrival of the professional medical tools that have dominated 20th Century medicine, most health concerns were managed at home. The citizens of the day would typically keep a good supply of herbs and other home remedies on hand. When illness struck, they would call upon their personal networks of kin and community. From time to time, they might ask a neighbor for advice, or seek help from an older neighbor woman with extensive experience in caring for the sick.

"When the people of the Nineteenth Century spoke of their 'family physician,' they were referring not to a person but to a book. Detailed encyclopedias of lay medical practice occupied a place of honor in many homes. One of the most influential was The Domestic Medicine, by William Buchan, MD, one of the great best sellers of its day. Buchan provided his readers with detailed instructions for dealing with a wide variety of 'diseases, conditions, and calamities' at home-from Quinsy, Consumption, and Dislocation of the Jaw, to Swooning, Low Spirits, and Noxious Vapors. The entire text of The Domestic Medicine is currently available online. It makes for fascinating reading.

"In the closing years of the Nineteenth Century, the cultural persona of the physician as we know it today-knowledgeable, authoritative, and universally respected-did not exist. While some physicians were revered because they were devoted and able healers, a variety of non-physician resources-midwives, homeopaths, naturopaths, and a variety of layfolk with special medical competence-were accorded the same high regard. By contrast, physicians of poor reputation were regarded as little more than unscrupulous vagabonds. Most citizens took responsibility for their own illnesses and injuries, turning to health professionals only in extreme situations. And citizens had unhindered access to the full range of medical tools and treatments that were available."

To make a pop culture comparison, we are the helpless adult embryos that power the machine world of The Matrix films. We have become so reliant on physicians and the medical industry that we no longer think or diagnose for ourselves, which is still our constitutional right. Like the "battery" people of The Matrix, we are born into the system, we are nourished as slaves by the machines, and in the end the system kills us and our bodies are recycled back into the network in the form of mortality statistics and disease foundations that bear our or our loved ones' names.

I do not trust doctors.

I do not trust the medical industry.

Like Neo in The Matrix, I have freed my mind, and I do not intend to say "aahh" again.

Works cited:

http://www.health-care-reform.net/theory.htm
http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/10/11/hlsa1011.htm
http://www.fergusonreport.com/articles/fr00901.htm





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