Doctor Doctor!

The problem with the internet is that anyone can stand on the soap box. Veracity is not important, merely the message. Which is why individuals such as Mike Adams from Natural News have some of the biggest and most profitable web pages on the internet.

It’s weird how often you run into anti-medicine ludditery in the west. I never noticed it till I left the UK but there are a sizeable amount of people who simply assume that medicine has no idea what it’s talking about. Today’s offering is from Dr. B. J. Hardick on Green Media Info and I have to go out on a limb and assume he is one of the few doctors who turn their back on science and evidence based medicine and go practice quackery for the dubious benefit of a fist full of dollars.

The tide is turning.  When once it was unheard of for a doctor’s opinion to be challenged, today’s patients are getting second and third opinions, seeking out alternative care and pursuing natural, organic solutions to their health issues.

This is not a good thing. Natural and Organic mean precisely nothing in terms of medicine. Curare is 100% natural yet you wouldn’t want to run afoul of poison darts. It’s medical use is well documented and strictly controlled. You aren’t out chewing south american leaves but a known dosage of the drug is injected to produce local effects. If you really think an unknown quantity of drug should be used then you are clearly not thinking clearly.

Alternative care categorically does not work. No proof has ever been produced that organic care beats regular care. You literally have a series of anecdotes and every comparison between alt. medicine and the placebo effect has proven to be non significant.

Dr. Brawley shocks us with statistics.  Americans are suffering and dying avoidable deaths.  America spends 1.5 times as much per person on health care than any other country, yet it ranks 50th in life expectancy and is 47th in infant mortality.  He blames unnecessary and unproven treatments on a lack of scientific knowledge and the financial attractiveness of supporting pharmaceutical companies, medical manufacturers and hospital financial targets.  This is a shame.

Actually it’s due to the fact that the USA has a two tier medical system involving private healthcare for some and public healthcare for others. This results in private healthcare DUMPING cases on public healthcare and situations where people have no healthcare at all forced to utilise ER services ratchetting up costs. Prevention is not a word being bandied around the USA.

And “50th in Life Expectancy” isn’t that big a gap. The average American lives 75 years, the average French? Nearly 80. Infant mortality in the USA is due to daft reporting of unviable births as preventable mortality. Unless you can magic some lungs into a 20 week old foetus there is nothing you can do to save it. It’s got a 97% chance of dying because in all our haste to declare hearts and brains as necessary for life we forget that hearts and brains need lungs to work.

American mortality is due to the fact that many americans even with insurance fear rising rates so don’t take advantage of healthcare unless necessary and by necessary, we mean “Stuff has gone horridly wrong”.

“The triad of obesity, lack of physical activity and high caloric intake (bad diet) is creating a tsunami of chronic disease.  If the system persists as is, medical costs will grow dramatically over the next several decades as the number of patients with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and orthopedic injury dramatically grows.”[i]
America is focused on sick care refinancing, not health care reform.  The medical system is bankrupting the economy – the U.S. spends 18% of its money on medicine.  The average cost of a health insurance policy for a family of four is $19,400 per year.  Much of that cost is born by the family itself as health care benefits are becoming too costly for the employer to provide.  In  Canada, the government spends about two thirds of that amount providing health care, and citizens complain that their health care needs are not being met.  And much of that money is spent on unnecessary and often unproven treatment.

The UK spends a bit more than Canada on healthcare and I know we spend roughly 50% of what the US government spends on it. This is a suspect value.

Doctors cannot exercise for you. Doctors REPEATEDLY state that you should put down the pie and go for a run. Yes, fat acceptance is nice and you should like your body and all that but we aren’t Cosmo. We think you should lose weight because it is healthy. Fat people are sick people, the statistics are clear. In the USA no one would ever, EVER produce a healthcare policy that reduces people’s freedom. You are free to chose what to eat and what to feed your kids. Obesity is the patient’s problem. It’s treatment is willpower and diet and if you don’t want to do those then we cannot help you.

You know not to touch a live exposed wire because you are educated about electricity and the dangers. Yet somehow you don’t want to remember the tonnes of education about healthy eating. The obesity epidemic’s fault lies in the laziness of consumers, the tastiness of junk food (Not their fault) and the unwillingness to accept some blame. McDonalds makes burgers, they aren’t forcefeeding you with them.

It amazes me that alternative medicine sites consider anything used in medicine to be unnecessary and unproven when they often flog energy crystals, magnets and magic water.

Health care consumers have every reason to be angry.  The costs are unsustainable, and most importantly, the well being of every Canadian and American is at risk.  Thirty-five years ago, Senator George McGovern criticized the war on cancer, saying that the annual billion dollars provided by the government was being misspent on treatment and ought to be directed toward prevention.  “How can you assert the vital relationship between diet and cancer and then submit a preliminary budget that only allocates a little more than 1% of the National Cancer Institute Funds to this problem?”  This statement was made by Senator McGovern at the 1976 U.S. Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs.

George McGovern is a historian. If we wanted to discuss history we got to a historian. If we want to get our car fixed we go to a mechanic. Why is it that in medicine, it is acceptable to ask a historian to dictate what doctors do to the general public?

A simple example of prevention and people who oppose it? The HPV vaccine. Stops between 92 to 97% of all cervical, penile and lower colonic cancers. Look at the backlash. Everything from people who think that vaccinating for it will cause women (and men) to slut it up and people who make grandiose claims that the HPV is designed to kill you. Never mind the thousands of women it will save. How much more do you want to bombard a public who really don’t want to listen to you about nutrition?

The only other alternative is mandatory sport for children and enforced physical education. If your child is obese you get your child
automatically taken for actual dietary regimens. IF you made legislation like that no one would vote for you.

Study after study shows that a good majority of cancers are preventable through lifestyle.  The upside down spending of 1 to 10% on prevention, giving the rest to treatment needs to be reversed.

Except many lifestyle changes are completely untenable. And yes many are avoidable. And I think the good doctor has forgotten how lung cancer rates are falling in our society thanks to the effect of anti-smoking drives often spear headed by doctors. 

What can we learn from this?  Take responsibility for your own health.  Read, research, and challenge what you’ve been told.  Seek out information about what you can do to maximize your potential for continued health and long life.  Quality nutrition, reduced stress, increased fitness, minimized toxins and maximized nerve supply are the five essentials that will optimize your health.  You can live a full life free of illness and disease.  Make wise, informed decisions.

This is where the woo comes in. No doctor advocates McDonalds. Nutrition is key and nearly every doctor tells you to eat a balanced diet and do exercise and avoid stress. However some people CANNOT avoid stress (eg. Doctors). But the one of note here is Minimised Toxins which is often a reference to real medicine because the quacks flog the notion that nothing in nature is toxic and that things like morphine, curare and botox (I kid you not, there are anti-vax who give out botox injections for wrinkle treatments but complain that vaccines are filled with toxins) are not. Maximised Nerve Supply is just one of those terms that doesn’t mean anything. If your nerve supply is anything but maximum you are in trouble.

Eventually you will die. This mantra that you will have a full life free of illness is pretty much what he is complaining about. We die because our body breaks down. Point in case? My uncle had a mild heart attack 3 weeks back. He used to exercise regularly and eat simple food. His two brothers are older and didn’t despite that. The reason? Age. Age is killing him. And for now there is not much we as doctors can do. In the future?

No doctor is against eating right and working out. The problem is eating right is not “eating fancy organic food and snaffling enough fancy vitamins to choke a donkey”.


  1. Norman Forrest says

    During the treatment process, you should offer to accompany a cancer patient to his or her doctor appointments or to his or her designated alternative cancer treatment center. Sometimes having more than one set of ears can really help to ensure all of you and your loved ones questions and concerns are addressed.

  2. psocoptera says

    #1 Avincenna, I am confused. Are you not the blogger who wrote this?

    Also, welcome to FtB! Some of us prefer our medical care evidence-based, so flog away! If nothing else, it will keep your comment sections lively. I even popped out of habitual lurking for it.

  3. lokicleo says

    American mortality is due to the fact that many americans even with insurance fear rising rates so don’t take advantage of healthcare unless necessary and by necessary, we mean “Stuff has gone horridly wrong”.

    Oh it is way more than just rising rates that we fear. An often overlooked factor is that American workers often have very minimal vacation time, no sick time, and are sometimes criticized or penalized for taking any time off at all. Doctors offices, naturally, only see people during work hours.

    If you lose your job (after multiple appointments, your employer may decide you are unreliable and the next in line for the next layoff) you will lose your health insurance when you most need it, (which automatically makes whatever ailment you have into a ‘pre-existing condition’ that your next insurance will refuse to cover) which would put you right back to just not going to the doctor until you end up at the ER. Healthcare reform theoretically solves this, but the most critical part (where you can get your own potentially affordable insurance without an employer) hasn’t gone into effect yet, and the Republicans are doing everything they can think of to kill it.

    So there are good reasons to avoid a doctor unless you absolutely need one. Doctor avoidance quickly becomes habitual. And if you never do to a doctor, doctors are a big scary mystery. The whole process is a big unknown. It may be intimidating just to find one that takes your insurance and make an appt. Plus, Americans all know that even if the doctor is a jerk, or useless, you still have to pay whatever they charge you. And if they do diagnose your problem and can help you, you will still have absolutely no way of predicting the out of pocket cost of the entire treatment. What other service do we commit to without a (usually free) estimate?

    Even once you get the bills it won’t be clear. You will certainly receive different bills from every specialist you see. You may well receive multiple bills from one specialist after only 1 visit. Everything on the bill will be in code, making it very difficult for a non-doctor to determine what each charge represents. But you had better figure it out, because the insurance company will without fail deny some claims that they are supposed to cover. You will have to point it out to them, perhaps repeatedly, perhaps getting your employer to back you up. The paying process is likely to take months. For Americans, going to the doctor is an awful lot of work. This is not something that patients in countries with universal health care worry about.

    So if you’re an American thinking about making a doctor appt, you have 3 options: 1) the multiple whammy of an incalculable financial risk, an equally incalculable career risk, fear of the unknown scary doctor office, dread of the post-treatment payment process, and loss of pay for the time you are at the appt, 2) ‘toughing it out’ – by far the most common among my coworkers and socially almost admired, or 3) alternative medicine/vitamins/special diets/woo. (people aren’t necessarily expecting the woo to cure them, just to postpone needing to see the doctor.)

    And I haven’t even gone into the additional obstacles faced by the uninsured, people with very little financial resources, people without reliable transportation, and minorities (historial mistreatment of people of color, LGBTQ, and women among other things).

    Given this context, is it really that surprising that Americans “don’t take advantage of healthcare unless necessary..”? Is it really weird that when access to traditional medicine is this uncertain, difficult, and frightening for everyday Americans, that any alternative no matter how unlikely to help (but very accessible, with no financial or career risk, and where you retain control) is extremely appealing? Worth a shot, right?

    I think it is a very human thing to tell yourself they probably couldn’t help you anyway.

    The part I don’t get is why so many (non-rich) Americans are against universal health care.

    Sorry for the long rant.

  4. JohnnieCanuck says

    Avicenna, could you have a look at the way comments are ordered? It’s hard to get used to having the newest at the top of the page. Also it seems to be that each comment gets renumbered each time a subsequent one arrives. When people refer to a post by its number as we commonly do on Freethought Blogs, this means it is broken as soon as they hit ‘submit’.

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