THE AMERICAN MEDICAL SYSTEM: NUMBER ONE or NUMBER THREE CA– USE OF DEATH?
On Nov. 3, The NEJM released online a 'new' method for using flu vaccine–almost exactly what I have used for 30 years! Intradermal. Of course they have not caught up yet with the need to give 3 intradermal shots for optimal immunity!
The JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION in 2000 reported that the American Medical System was the third leading cause of death, with 250,000 medically 'caused' deaths in 1998. Overall, Medicine may be responsible for shortening average life expectancy by about 7.5 years. Drs. Gary Null, Carolyn Dean Martin Feldman Debora Rasio and Dorothy Smith have conservatively estimated 'iatrogenic events as the number one killer at 738,000 annual deaths.' Assuming average life expectancy to be 75 years that would mean the medical system would wipe out 55,350,000 of current Americans, or roughly 20% of the population. At only 250,000 per year, there are still EVERY week, almost as many medically caused deaths as occurred in the World Trade Center destruction 9/11. But few seem disturbed by these appalling numbers!
This problem may not be uniquely American. In Spain it is estimated that 20 to 25% of all surgical operations are unnecessary. And in New Zealand the third leading cause of death is the Medical System. And, of course, the problem is not just one of modern medicine. George Washington was hurried to the grave by bloodletting. Samuel Hahneman, developer of homeopathy, railed against the medical system in Germany at that time. Interestingly, in 'undeveloped' countries the leading cause of death is infectious diseases, especially in the very young. Just as today, the greatest NATURAL risks of a shortened life are infectious diseases, caused by poor sanitation and inadequate protein. And Dr. Thomas McKeown, in his landmark book THE ROLE OF MEDICINE, stated that only 8% (8% of 25 years is only an average of two years) of the increased longevity of Americans achieved in the first 75 years of the twentieth century was the result of modern medicine. If the advances of Medicine over the past 100 years increase life by an average of 2 years but decrease it by an average of 7.5 years, then we do not even wind up 'barely on the positive side of zero', as posited by Franz Inglefinger, late editor of THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE!
The problem appears to be a lack of the uncommon commodity, common sense. Today polypharmacy appears to be the major equivalency of purging and bloodletting 300 years ago, with even more dangerous results. The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment has estimated that over 80% of modern drugs have not been significantly proven effective. Elective surgery is an oxymoron. In view of the serious problems briefly outlined here, what is the average person to do?
SELF-RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTH!
Nothing is more important than no smoking, minimal drinking of alcohol, maintaining ad Body Mass Index between 19 and 24, excellent exercise, a positive attitude, no street drugs (and few PRESCRIBED ones), adequate sleep and relaxation.
When you are ill, despite healthy habits, insist on knowing all the risks (NOT SIDE EFFECTS< RISKS) of every drug and proposed invasive test or surgery. Find a great Family Nurse Practitioner as your primary care provider. And search the Internet and everywhere possible for safe alternative approaches for your problem. Of course, in acute illnesses and injuries, you must rely upon that American Medical System. Fortunately, it is in acute illness that the System works best.