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“Adverse events”

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Occasionally I get urges.

Today I have one which will see me sink my critical yet professionally unqualified commoner's boot into the medical profession.

I acknowledge that the vast majority of doctors do not lack compassion, competence or dedication, yet their services (despite Australia's generous health care rebate system) are increasingly unaffordable to many of us.
 
The "Doctor Industry" however, still insists upon retaining it's unethical and incestuous business relationships with pharmacists, pathologists and pharmaceutical big business.

In coming years because of their unaffordability not only to us as individuals, but also to the nation as a whole, they will be forced to take a long hard look at themselves.
Either that or the Government will probably need to do it for them.

The concept of "elective surgery" is not something that I understand.
 
I will never "elect" to have someone stick a knife into me if there are softer alternative treatments available, or modifications which I can make to my lifestyle to alleviate a problem, or preferably prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Last year Australian Health officials were unable to deny the claims of an insider that there were "more than 10 jumbo jets-full of adverse events in Australian hospitals each year."

For "adverse events" please read "unnecessary deaths".

The whistleblower also suggested that we should never schedule surgery for January or February for this is the time of year when new anaesthetists and doctors were most "unfamiliar with equipment".

Even proponents of elective surgery admit that whilst such procedures can bring about great improvement in health, they may also result in disability and death, especially in weaker patients.

There is consistent evidence to suggest that when unnecessary surgical interventions cease, the overall death rate in communities decreases.
Such was the case when doctors went on strike in Israel in 1983, then again in 2000, Finland in 1984 and for a period in Toronto during 2003 when all elective surgery was cancelled at 4 hospitals because of the SARS epidemic.

Until now, doctors seem to have been afforded immunity to prosecution for surgical ineptitude, because of their long entrenched powers of influence within successive Governments.

For the first time, at least in my memory, a doctor is now facing the courts in Australia charged with killing people by surgical malpractice.  He was eventually extradited to Australia after hiding out under the protective skirts of America's medical fraternity and legal system for some years.

I hope that a satisfactory precedent will be set with this trial.

For far too long doctors have remained unaccountable for their mistakes, and accordingly behaved with an aloofness, arrogance and air of "untouchability" which is no longer appropriate or acceptable.
 

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Doctor, go heal thineself

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This morning I consumed an entire box of Kleenex tissues mopping up copious tears of sympathy as I listened to a radio spokesperson for doctors telling me that some inconsiderate patients like you and me are presenting with more than one ailment at a time.

Apparently some of us have had the audacity to arrive at their thoroughly disinfected hygienic portals with up to FOUR things wrong with us at the same time.

Why was the good doctor so aggravated?

Did she not understand that the foot bone is connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone is connected to the leg bone, ad nauseum, and that it is entirely feasible that a foot malfunction can also be accompanied by pain in the hip joint and at other points in the skeletal and muscular system.

I have taken the uneducated liberty of assuming also that a circulatory deficiency in the heart might simultaneously manifest itself with symptoms masquerading as separate ailments in other organs and tissues throughout the body.

It is just possible that the body might benefit from assessment of it as a whole, rather than a collection of individually treatable parts.  

Now I am in a generous mood and will assume doctors already know these things along with thousands of other things that I do not.

So what was this spokesperson really angling for?

Maybe doctors think $55 per 10 minute appointment is inadequate remuneration for their workload.
$330 per hour may be insufficient to trade up to a new model Mercedes Benz again this year.
Perhaps $55 per symptom would fix their problem.

Now there's an idea that might just jolt a few people into taking health matters a little more seriously, if it is linked with some restrictions to avoid the common abuses of Australia's generous health care rebate system.

We would then not run off to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle ($55 thanks) or sneeze (oops there goes another $55 thank you), but I would suggest that an increased fee structure needs to go hand in hand with one more thing.

Doctors need to be sent off to work with my car mechanic for a month and be taught how to tell the truth to patients.

If I deliberately fill my truck up with cheap contaminated fuel, before overloading it to twice the recommended gross weight, then subsequently break some springs and shock absorbers, before blowing a head gasket and big end bearing chugging my way up the next hill, my mechanic will tell me how much of a bloody idiot I have been before presenting me with the exhorbitant bill to repair all the damage I stupidly inflicted on my own vehicle.

Doctors similarly need to start handing out some tough lovin', especially if they are as overworked and underpaid as they suggest.  
Stop mollycoddling those patients who refuse to do anything to help themselves.

And for my own final medical evaluation, rather than receiving some smokescreen of polite medical bullshit and being sent on some futile expensive program of limited life extension, I would prefer my doctor to tell me;

"GOF, your entire fuel, lubrication and exhaust systems are worn out and totally stuffed, your chassis is fractured and the synapses in your electronic control box have fused through devious misuse.  
You are not worth fixing.
Take yourself off home and wait for the Eternal Towtruck to deliver you to whichever wreckers yard is closest."

The message from this disjointed dissertation is this;

I know most doctors are well intentioned, but the world desperately needs them to become more actively involved in preventive medicine, dietary guidance, lifestyle advice and holistic health care.
 
And they should cease the practice of pussyfooting around the truth when it needs to be told, and stop wasting resources on those who are able, yet refuse to help themselves.

 

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A smorgasbord of disease

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Long before the days of the internet, Australia had Dr James Wright.

Most countries of the world probably had their own Dr Wright.  
It seemed that no matter what time of the day or night, Dr Wright would be on the radio or TV dispensing free medical advice with evangelical enthusiasm.

He wrote the Family Medical Guide which was an essential part of the furniture in most homes.  A hard cover manual of monumental proportions which contained vivid details of most diseases known to humans in the 1970's.
I once read through his Manual and suddenly discovered I was suffering from 17 illnesses which I did not have before opening the book.

With the advent of the internet, I could easily be convinced that I have several hundred ailments.  Indeed right now I think I might have pernicious infectious splodge of the anterior sibongle, which can only be cured by intravenous oil of hedgehog.  (No, don't bother googling it).

I have resolved to only use the internet for medical opinion when I really seriously require it, and to accept only that information which appeals to my common sense.

Actor Orson Bean in his autobiography gives sage advice about dealing with most minor ailments.  "If you don't think about them, they go away".

In Australian aboriginal custom the procedure of "pointing the bone" was sometimes meted out to those who seriously offended custom, immediately inducing psychosomatic illnesses in the recipient who often died after a short period of time.
The ultimate example of the power of mind over matter.

But is this process limited to native cultures?  
Could not an unexpected medical diagnosis of cancer have precisely the same effect on someone who had, until that point, considered themselves healthy?
Too often, in matters of health care, we happily surrender our individual power and intelligence to the medical profession.

Are all those blood tests really needed for the patients benefit, or are many conducted simply to keep the machinery of medical industry running quiet with a constant and excessive application of monetary lubricant?

Perhaps we underestimate the capacity to control our own health outcomes through sensible lifestyle and dietary choices, and the healing power of the mind.

And I hope you don't catch my splodge when reading this blog.

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