Friday, October 3, 2008

The job of the physician is to humor the patient while their body does the healing...

How could it be that a French philosopher, a Greek physician and a witty New Englander can all agree that health depends on the patient (and their patience) instead of an injection, pill or surgical procedure?

Though modern medicine is dismissing more and more anything but "evidence based medicine," it is becoming more and more obvious that this is a cop-out. Now, research is an excellent thing, and thanks to Francis Bacon, methodologies have become quite uniform--but is that really so great for the dynamic ailments and solutions of the human body?

Let me put it this way: testing whether an onion makes a person well or ill clearly depends on how much, when and with what it is given, and who it was given to. If you give someone an onion after they finished desert, or for breakfast or if they're a 5 year old all of the outcomes will be different, of course. But, somehow modern medical research thinks that, by analogy, giving the same amount of onion the same number of times a day will create evidence of the onion's effects. Would you agree?

Much of the money that is in the pharmaceutical industry floats around looking for more research to support that allows this same industry to capitalize on the authority this gives these drugs as cures. If anyone's taken a pain killer like vicadin, you're sure to remember the side effects (unless you're Rush Limbaugh of course, which in that case you'd somehow forget that you required them to get through the day). Everyone seems willing to put up with the sometimes dangerous side effects and expenses of pharmaceuticals for if not only for the fact that the doctor has authority to prescribe them in the first place, the scientific research shows they really work by acting on such and such receptors, etc.. Most of the time that is, there are a number of drugs which we have no known mechanism for why they work only clinical trials where enough people experienced few deaths in comparison to those that felt statistically significant results, not necessarily positive.

It was only a few years ago that a study showed that calcium channel blockers, a drug used commonly for congestive heart disease, arrythmias, etc, created a greater risk of dying from a heart attack than not taking any drugs for their heart symptoms.

Now, let me be clear, I'm not suggesting that modern medication is all bad. It is life saving for many. What I am saying is that the ease with which doctors AND patients turn to pharmaceuticals for cure when most of the medicines are treating symptoms and thus ensuring longtime maintenance doses is money and time that could be better spent on treating the cause. And, though we have lots of fancy imaging tests and lab tests for myriad conditions, modern medicine has still neglected to look deeply into the greatest source of information-the patient history. Or should I say, the patient's story. If we can spend some time carefully listening to the patient unfold the process of how they got to where they are, we could make certain headway in discovering how to help them bring the process full circle.

In an acute condition we say there are only two resolutions: death or relief. Modern medicine does great with this 50-50 situation. Now, the chronic conditions are the most complex, no wonder they are the most money consuming- but really, do they have to be? Because, if you think about it, a chronic condition starts somewhere and when we don't correct the cause from the start we have to contend with the body's complex reaction, first to the cause and then to the treatments for the symptoms layered on top of that. Take for example, type II diabetes. A disease caused by dysregulation of blood sugar due to diet and lifestyle factors that could be easily modified. Well, easily modified if doctors had the guts to insist on no more doughnuts and patients had any reason to not question their authority.
Stay tuned for more discussion about M.Deities and their fall from grace : )

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