Doctors Doing Harm since Hippocrates
Posted 20 January 2012 - 08:36 AM
Itís Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be
Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. He had a surgeon explore the area, and the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. This surgeon was one of the best in the country. He had even invented a new procedure for this exact cancer that could triple a patientís five-year-survival oddsófrom 5 percent to 15 percentóalbeit with a poor quality of life. Charlie was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice, and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with family and feeling as good as possible. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatment. Medicare didnít spend much on him.
Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call ďfutile careĒ being performed on people. Thatís when doctors bring the cutting edge of technology to bear on a grievously ill person near the end of life. The patient will get cut open, perforated with tubes, hooked up to machines, and assaulted with drugs. All of this occurs in the Intensive Care Unit at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a day. What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist. I cannot count the number of times fellow physicians have told me, in words that vary only slightly, ďPromise me if you find me like this that youíll kill me.Ē
Posted 28 January 2012 - 06:57 AM
Television has done an excellent job of distorting true medicine, including the resuscitation of dying patients.
Resuscitation isnít as clean and gentle as they portray on television. The chest must be compressed hard and deep enough to pump the blood out of the heart. This can lead to broken ribs, punctured lungs and possibly an injured heart. Paramedics move beyond the gentle mouth-to-mouth breathing and insert a breathing tube into the patientís throat. Electrical shocks may have to be delivered to attempt to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. An intravenous line (IV) would be started, so potent medications could be delivered through it. The patient is transported to the hospital, and if they arenít already pronounced dead, they may be instantly hooked up to life support machines, without consulting with family.
What are the chances that all of this will work? The statistics, while not highly accurate due to variances in reporting methods, show that survival after resuscitation is 6 to 15% for patients already in a hospital, 1 to 2% for patients in nursing homes and between 4 to 38% for patients who were resuscitated in non-health care settings. The statistics are the worst for patients who have chronic illnesses, cancer or dementia. Since most people who are on palliative care or hospice care have one or more of these conditions, their survival would most closely resemble that of nursing home residents -- 1 to 2%. Itís important to note that the 1 to 2% of patients often have some kind of damage to the brain or heart.
The question now becomes, ďIs it worth it to put myself or my loved one through the traumatic process of resuscitation for a 1 to 2% chance of survival?Ē
Posted 18 February 2012 - 04:10 PM
If you search "tonsillectomy/adverse effects" on PubMed, you will get more than 1000 references:
including polio, weight gain, vomiting (many articles), taste distortion (here, here, here), Hodgkin's disease (here, here, here, here, here, but here is evidence that disputes the association), Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (e.g., here, here), inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, severe spine infection, neck infection (here, here), speech problems (here, here), hearing loss, ear pain, visual loss (here, here), depression, several other serious problems, and immunological abnormalities (e.g., here, here, here).
Also tonsillectomy "is associated with a relatively high risk of postoperative complications" and that "the actual post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage rate is much higher than that recorded in hospital statistics."
Overtreatment -- wasteful and harmful medicine -- is an enormous problem. It is the subject of two recent books (Overtreated and Overdiagnosed) and a Newsweek article. Tonsillectomies are an example.
Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:42 PM
Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:52 PM
During a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53 "landmark" publications -- papers in top journals, from reputable labs -- for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development.
Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated. He described his findings in a commentary piece published on Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Some authors required the Amgen scientists sign a confidentiality agreement barring them from disclosing data at odds with the original findings. "The world will never know" which 47 studies -- many of them highly cited -- are apparently wrong, Begley said.
Part way through his project to reproduce promising studies, Begley met for breakfast at a cancer conference with the lead scientist of one of the problematic studies.
"We went through the paper line by line, figure by figure," said Begley. "I explained that we re-did their experiment 50 times and never got their result. He said they'd done it six times and got this result once, but put it in the paper because it made the best story. It's very disillusioning."
Posted 01 May 2012 - 09:28 PM
For humans, as large complex animals, invasion and colonisation by infectious parasitic agents is the basic problem in life
For example, it is likely that the mid-twentieth century epidemic of heart disease was caused by some infectious agent - not known;
As well as the damage from micro-organisms and parasites, there are problems with the body's 'immune' reactions to these invaders - and these probably cause another whole set of 'autoimmune' diseases; which may include eczema, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis
What about Diet?
It seems that humans can live a full lifespan on a huge range of diets, so long as the food does not contain too much poisonous or infectious stuff.
The most striking thing about diet is how little dietary components matter to life expectancy, so long as there is enough food.
Posted 29 May 2012 - 08:39 AM
A Long Beach hospital charged Jo Ann Snyder $6,707 for a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis after colon surgery. But because she had health insurance with Blue Shield of California, her share was much less: $2,336.
Then Snyder tripped across one of the little-known secrets of healthcare: If she hadn't used her insurance, her bill would have been even lower, just $1,054.
Snyder said she went back to work last year at a hair salon in Seal Beach, partly to help pay her insurance premiums of $700 a month.
"It kills me that I'm paying that much in premiums," she said, "and it's better to pay cash out of my own pocket."
(Los Alamitos Medical Center lists a CT scan of the abdomen on a state website for $4,423. Blue Shield says its negotiated rate at the hospital is about $2,400.
When The Times called for a cash price, the hospital said it was $250.)
Health-policy experts say the growing awareness of cash prices should accelerate the trend toward increased disclosure of all types of medical costs. But entrenched interests are likely to resist.
"The insiders in the healthcare industry don't want to lose control over this information," Keckley said. "But price transparency is inevitable."
Edited by stocks, 29 May 2012 - 08:41 AM.
Posted 29 May 2012 - 10:43 AM
Edited by Rogerdodger, 29 May 2012 - 10:45 AM.
BIGGEST SCIENCE SCANDAL EVER...Official records systematically 'adjusted'.
Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:04 AM
Doctor Explains Shocking and Irresponsible Healthcare Costs
Hospitals, doctors offer cash discounts for medical bills
Watch this amazing Video
Forget everything you ever thought you knew about healthcare costs! In this video (as well as the website) I expose many of the deceptions that are occurring in healthcare now.
-Most generic medication cost less if you don't use your insurance to buy them.
-Most doctors have no idea what they get paid for an office visit.
-Hospitals routinely bill TEN times what they expect to be paid.
-Most diagnostic tests are very inexpensive to run
-Insurance companies deliberately bargain in bad faith when it's your money.
Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:08 AM
1. Stents for Stable Angina
Despite stents' ineffectiveness, close to 500,000 are implanted each year for stable chest pain, says Sanjay Kaul, M.D., a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles
2. Complex Spinal Fusion for Stenosis
Deyo recently studied the records of more than 30,000 Medicare patients who underwent surgery for stenosis of the lower back and found that complex fusion procedures (in which surgeons place bone grafts between multiple vertebrae) had increased an astounding 1,400 percent between 2002 and 2007.
The risks are significant: Those who underwent complex fusion were nearly three times more likely to suffer life-threatening complications than those who underwent less invasive surgery. Previous studies have also found that most fusion patients experience no more relief from their chronic back pain than those who had physical and behavioral therapy.
3. Hysterectomy for Uterine Fibroids
Each year approximately 600,000 American women have hysterectomies, or removal of the uterus, and studies show that the vast majority are unnecessary.
4. Knee Arthroscopy for Osteoarthritis
With this procedure a surgeon places a tiny camera in the knee, then inserts small instruments through other incisions to repair torn or aging cartilage. Studies show the operation works well when patients have in fact torn their meniscal tissue, but it is no more successful than noninvasive remedies in treating osteoarthritis of the knee