The European financial crisis has hit the Greek health care system hard. “Healthcare in Greece is already at crisis point with hospitals running out of vital supplies and drugs. Digital Journal reported cancer patients are having to source their own prescriptions as pharmacies fail to stock vital drugs due to the government not providing funds to pay for them.”
The question is: could this happen in the US? I’m sure that most people shake with fear at the idea that they couldn’t afford to see their doctor or get their meds. But, might we be better off without our vaunted health care system? Would our time and money be better spent paying attention to the quality of the food we eat, eliminating toxins from the environment and working to moderate our lifestyles? Should we be planning ahead for a time when medical services aren’t so readily available (e.g. the Greek example) by learning how to take care of ourselves using natural remedies and food for what ails us?
Here’s something to study and really think about: The Nutrition Institute of America claims “that conventional medicine is America’s number-one killer…” To make this claim the Institute mandated that every “count” in this “indictment” of US medicine be validated by published, peer-reviewed scientific studies.” They’ve put it all together in a report titled, “Death By Medicine which is published on the Life Extension Institute website. You can read the whole thing here . The skeptical reader might want to skim through the references at the end of the article to view the sources of the information.
A theater shooting in Colorado gets wall to wall cable news coverage. However, it is unlikely that you will see this headline—”CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE CAUSES 783,936 DEATHS PER YEAR.”
It seems unbelievable. But when you look at the data it all adds up: adverse drug reactions, medical error, infection, unnecessary procedures, surgical error. It’s pretty scary and again raises the question: “Would less medical service be a good thing?
My own issues with conventional or hospital based or pharmaceutical medicine are well documented in a book I wrote called Diagnosis Unknown, published by Hampton Roads Publishing in 1997 (now out of print). Our experience with the medical system was a genuine epiphany which led me to question the conventional point of view in every area: economics, politics, gardening, etc. I discovered that your AMA doc was pretty much clueless when it came to diagnosing and treating chronic illness but that when you entered the system they would milk you like a cow with tests and prescriptions handing you around from one specialist to another.
I realize it takes some fortitude to forego regular medical attention and that our treatment choices are almost always a case of “follow the money.” That is, we will go only where insurance takes us. If insurance won’t pay for it we will be reluctant pay out of pocket for modalities that are constantly attacked as quackery. (Steve Hall, an alternative MD from the Eastside of Seattle explains the insurance problem here)
Considering medicine from the Transition viewpoint it makes sense to me to take active steps to take charge of your own health and not delegate it to some doctor. And I get it about the flesh eating bacteria and the knee surgery. There’s a time and a place. But it’s not every time and every place. (Full disclosure: since 1989 when I had to get an insurance physical I’ve been to an MD once (I psyched myself into believing I had leptosperosis from a walk in a Hawaiian river) for the only course of antibiotics I’ve had since sometime in the early eighties and recently to a PA at an orthopedic clinic to see in a shot in the knee of Syncvisc-one would help with a bone on bone problem (it didn’t help much).
So, what should you think when you read that conventional medicine kills 700,000+ per year and would it be any better if the number were only 200,000 or 400,000? One’s reaction might be the same as hearing that government is broke or that there’s hardly any substantive difference between Obama and Romney or Clinton and Bush, or that we face a real health threat from Fukishima radiation or that we are on the downside of our oil supply. It’s hard to process this kind of stuff when you are trying to get dinner on the table, weed the garden or get the kids to school. Nevertheless, it seems to me that we ought to spend some time thinking about “what ifs” and make some minimal preparation.
In the area of health we actually have a lot of control if we decide to exercise it. We are in charge of what we eat and drink and ingest. There are protocols, for example, in alternative medicine for mitigating the effects of radiation. But it requires some time and study.
In the meantime, I personally will continue to be fearful of conventional medical practice and try my best to stay out of the system.