IS MODERN MEDICINE REALLY A
"Do you think there are standard-of-care treatments today that future generations will look back on in horror, and which ones will they be?"
Intriguing question. And isn't it interesting how each successive generation of physicians thinks that what they are doing in their clinics and hospitals is the epitome of medical practice? While not a physician, LBJ certainly thought so back when he declared that via big government we would wipe disease off the face of the earth (it was almost 50 years ago that Surgeon General William Stewart boldly proclaimed, "The time has come to close the book on infectious diseases". Who knows; it might happen some day --- once every family in America has their own personal "Medical Tricorder" autographed by Dr. McCoy himself. Anyway, let's take a look and see how these experts answered the question above.
Among other telling comments, Dr. John Higgins said, "We currently use medications in a 'one size fits all' manner, and they are absorbed into our bodies and affect many systems in addition to the one they are intended for and may cause damage to healthy systems." Higgins should know, as he is an Associate Professor at The University of Texas Medical School, Chief of Cardiology at the Lyndon Baines Johnson General Hospital, and Director of Exercise Physiology at the Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance. What are the drugs he specifically picks on? Some I have picked on myself --- "BETA-BLOCKERS, STATINS, ANTIBIOTICS, and NSAID'S". Higgins does believe that the medicine of the future will have, "near zero side effects". This appears to be a pipe dream though; especially when you realize that the whole IATROGENESIS thing is getting worse instead of better (HERE).
Sherrie Binns, an RN whose specialty is MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, fires some shots across the bow at Obama Care (the Affordable Care Act). She talks about problems like patients being, "prevented from seeing members of their healthcare team that have tended them for years in lieu of lesser skilled providers who will accept a lower reimbursement for care," as well as the problems associated with this phenomenon. She goes on to say that, "the compassion is rapidly seeping out of care and into the leach-fields of commonality and disinterest. Passion is no longer nurtured." But it's Dr. Jack Shapiro who (inadvertently) lets the proverbial cat out of the bag.
Shapiro, an Otolaryngologist (ENT) at New York's Icahn School of Medicine, lets slip that medicine might not be quite as "scientific" as we have been led to believe. Over 21 years ago, Duke University's Dr. David Eddy, told us that, "only about 15% of medical interventions are supported by, solid scientific evidence". But we've gotten beyond that. After all, the latest drugs, tests, and surgeries here in the good ole USA are all "evidence-based" --- aren't they? Dr. Shapiro reveals that the answer might be 'not so much' when he says, "Medicine today is as much an art as a science -- what we lack in knowledge, we try to make up from what we do know. Too much of our knowledge base is inference... rather than hard evidence...". In an age where EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE is supposed to be the be-all-end-all --- the absolute pinnacle of practice, this statement is akin to telling us that the emperor has no clothes.
It was Dr. Robert Mendelsohn in 1988's HOW TO RAISE A HEALTHY CHILD IN SPITE OF YOUR DOCTOR who told us (I am quoting loosely here), "When our child is sick, the hardest thing is to do nothing at all" (by "nothing" he didn't really mean to do nothing for your sick child, he simply meant that we don't need to be running to the doctor for every little thing). But according to both Dr. Mendhelson and the general attitude / feeling conveyed by the panel above, that is precisely what may be best.