(Dr. W.) There is the underlying assumption that modernity translates into better health. A corollary of this logic is that we can live our lives pretty much as we want because we can always buy a repair. You know, the car won't start, the TV is broken, the telephone is dead, no problem. Just call in an expert, spend some money and all is well.
Same with our health. Our ticker falters, joints creak or an unwanted growth pops up, no problem. Buy some modern medical care. If that doesn't work, it's a problem of money, better insurance, more hospital funding, more research for the "cure," more doctors, better equipment and more technology. Right?
Don't take my word for it. Listen to the perpetrators themselves. The following is taken right from the pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association (July 26, 2000): "Of 13 countries in a recent comparison, the United States (the most modern and advanced in the world) ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom)..."
The U.S. ranks:
>last for low birth weight
>last for neonatal and infant mortality overall
>11th for post neonatal mortality
>last for years of potential life lost
>11th for female life expectancy at one year, and next to last for males
>10th for age adjusted mortality
The World Health Organization, using different indicators, ranked the U.S. 15th among 25 industrialized nations. (If ranked against "primitive" cultures eating and living as humans were designed, the whole industrialized world would be at the bottom of the heap.)
Well, some might say these dismal results are because of smoking, alcohol, cholesterol, animal fats and poor penetration of medical care. Not so. Countries that rank higher in these health risks have better overall health according to epidemiological studies. It's also not due to lack of technology. The U.S. is, for example, second only to Japan in the number of magnetic resonance imaging units (MRIs) and computed tomography scanners per unit of population. Neither can lack of medical personnel be blamed since the U.S. has the greatest number of employees per hospital bed in the world.
So what is the problem? Here are some clues as revealed in the same journal cited above:
>12,000 deaths per year from unnecessary surgery
>7,000 deaths per year from medication errors in hospitals
>20,000 deaths per year from other hospital errors
>80,000 deaths per year from nosocomial (originating in a hospital) infections
>106,000 deaths per year from adverse effects of medications
That totals 225,000 deaths per year, the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. Another study - we're talking just hospital related deaths here - estimates 284,000 deaths per year. An analysis of outpatient care jumps these figures by 199,000 deaths for a new total of 483,000 medically related deaths per year. And this assumes doctors and hospitals eagerly report all their mistakes. Think so?
Why do we not hear more about this? It is just too difficult to come to grips with the inevitable - and unbelievable - conclusion: When all the deaths (not counting the hundreds of thousands who are maimed or otherwise harmed but don't die) are tallied, medical intervention is the leading cause of death in our country.
Time to splash some cold water on the rely-on-modern-medicine inebriation. And remember folks, the above are just cold numbers. Take any one of these numbers and humanize it to the real pain, suffering, financial devastation, grief and family disruption, and each one is a heart rending story, deserving of anyone's deep concern and sympathy. It is a tragedy of a magnitude unequalled by anything in human history. And it's repeated every year. It makes 911, all the deaths in all U.S. wars, deaths by auto, homicides and everything else pale in comparison.
(I know what you are thinking. "This can't be true because we live so much longer today than in the past."
Sorry, wrong again. Average life expectancy for our population has increased, but that is only because infant mortality has decreased. Remember, average life expectancy is an average, not a measure of your individual ability to live a long life. In fact, longevity, the ability to live long life, has not changed from earliest actuarial records. Let me take that back. In the same report cited above, the U.S. ranking for longevity in the oldest age group was worse in the 90s than it was in the 80s. And no, we do not live longer today because medicine has vanquished the great plagues. These diseases - such as polio, measles, pneumonia, scarlet fever, whooping cough, influenza, diphtheria, tuberculosis and typhoid - were on the decline before the medical measure, such as a vaccine or chemotherapeutic, were even introduced. These diseases were subdued due to better plumbing, hygiene and food distribution, contrary to medical propaganda and popular beliefs.
The media should be shouting about this from atop their broadcast towers. But there is silence, just reports in obscure (to the public) medical and scientific publications. In the meantime, trusting people keep flocking to the slaughter. From just 1995 to 2002, pharmaceutical sales jumped from $65 billion to over $200 billion. That's about one prescription for each man, woman and child in the country every month. This escalation in medical dependency is paralleled in surgeries, lab tests, emergency room admissions, elective procedures and outpatient visits.
You can do something about it. Begin today to take control of your own health destiny. The philosophical paradigm of conventional, allopathic, symptom based, reductionistic, crisis care, after the fact medicine is seriously flawed...and very deadly. Good and well meaning doctors are hamstrung by flawed philosophical premises. They are crippled every bit as much as those who once believed in a flat Earth. Trying to achieve health with modern allopathic medicine is like trying to fix computers with a hammer, just because that's the only tool you were taught to use or believe in.
Don't wait for the system to change. Old ideas die too hard. A trillion dollar industry is not going to be quick in either admitting error or revamping itself. Your health is at stake. Think prevention and natural cure. Study, learn, grow, be skeptical, apply, change lifestyle, be self-reliant - be a thinking person. That's your best road to health.