Individuals as health care consumers are becoming somewhat disappointed with the mechanistic model. People want to be taken seriously; they want the complexity of their symptom presentation to be acknowledged. Today’s conscientious consumers are no longer content to merely take a pill to suppress a symptom. They have a deeper desire to know the root cause of their disease presentations, and they wish to know if there is anything they can do to influence the outcome of their healing trajectory. Also, select individuals are aware that they have a certain responsibility in their disease causation, irrespective of inherited genetics.
In today’s day and age, many individuals are looking for a more complete definition of healing—they’re not just content to treat a disease. They are looking for answers to address their sense of malaise and are seeking out a myriad of healers practicing at different stages of the Seven Stages model. It is my hope that the healers of the future will have a much more extended repertoire than just the drugs and surgical procedures they have learned at medical school. It is my hope that they will have studied many disciplines across the therapeutic spectrum, as well as having taken the adventurous step of engaging in some of their own inner process, some direct content with their own unconscious. It is my hope that they will not only have looked into non-toxic nutritional medicines, but they will also have traversed some of the rich inner material that is dormant within themselves, whether it be early bonding disruptions or early traumatic experiences, so that they may have deep compassion for the situation many of their patients find themselves in. It is also my hope that they do not rest until there is healing established within their own family systems, as it is quite apparent that an individual who is locked into the grid of a stable and loving family system has quite a different life force to draw from, not to mention an entirely different way of being in the world.
Larry Dossey comments on the loss of confidence in the modern allopathic model of medicine by commenting on many of the scandals that have rocked the confidence of health care consumers in the past few years. “The uncertainties of medicine are cause for celebration,” Dossey writes. “Modern medicine is losing some of its invincibility. Many of the rules of good health that have guided patients and physicians for decades have taken a beating from which they may not recover. The almost blind allegiance we once had to the treatments offered has been severely undermined by these studies—some of the absolute certainties are no longer as absolutely certain.”
We don’t have to look far for empirical data to back Dossey’s claims. First there was the Vioxx drug scandal, where many people died from heart disease by consuming what were thought to be relatively innocuous anti-inflammatory drugs. Compounding the problem was the fact that this particular drug had been marketed as being relatively safe. Furthermore, evidence emerged that the drug companies had known for some time that the drug had an increased incidence of cardiac side effects, but they had chosen to hide the negative findings to ensure a profit.
The allopathic model of medicine suffered another substantial shock from the hormone replacement therapy scandal disclosed in the Women’s Health Initiative. The study showed that the drugs Premarin and Provera actually increase women’s risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. Another report revealed a shocking disclosure in the world of knee surgery; researchers proved that by performing arthroscopy surgery on a damaged knee was no more effective than administering an anesthetic, make a nick in the skin, and proceeding to not perform the surgery but tell the patient that they had. The outcome in terms of pain and symptoms after either of these two procedures, the real operation versus the sham operation, was virtually the same. The value of mammograms has also been seriously questioned, and it is unclear as to whether or not a mammogram has any influence on the number of women dying from breast cancer each year.
A Wall Street Journal article written by Ron Winslow entitled Study Questions Evidence Behind Heart Therapies, discussed a recent study which revealed that less than 11% of 2,700 recommendations commonly made by cardiologists are supported by scientific evidence. Furthermore, that many of the dogmatic recommendations and guidelines made by cardiologists are made by those connected in some way financially with the pharmaceutical companies. Another study showed that 85 % of individuals who have stents or angioplasties to treat their blocked coronary arteries didn’t need them. Furthermore, the group that did have the surgical procedures ended up much sicker than the individuals who treated their condition with drugs alone.
In light of all of these scandals and revelations, we can’t help but doubt some of the contributions of modern medicine. The historical image we have of doctors—the caring, compassionate healers who sacrifice their personal life in servitude to their passion for helping others—has been replaced by a whole new image, spelled out in popular books with titles like Why Is My Doctor So Dumb? The faith that many once had in the all-knowledgeable doctor is now inherently suspicious.
This state of affairs has not been helped by the fact that doctors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, causing upwards of 250,000 deaths per year. This study was published in JAMA, the most prestigious journal in America. Subsequently, the number has been reexamined, and some people believe that if all cases were reported (doctors are notoriously tightlipped about admitting liability), iatrogenic illness would be the leading cause of death in the United States. Iatrogenic means “induced in a patient by a physician’s activity, manner, or therapy.” The annual statistics are as follows:
- 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgery
- 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals
- 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals
- 80,000 deaths from infections in hospitals
- 106,000 deaths from non-error, negative effects of drugs
That’s a total of 250,000 deaths per year, all from iatrogenic causes!
On his website, Dr. Joseph Mercola has used a similar set of statistics to calculate a slightly different equation. The conclusion is startling. Dr. Mercola was able to calculate that, statistically speaking, doctors are 9,000 times more likely to accidentally kill you than gun owners. The math is fairly simple:
- Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year = 120,000
- Accidental deaths per physician = 0.171
- Number of gun owners in the US = 80,000,000
- Number of physicians in the US = 700,000
- Number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) = 1,500
- Accidental deaths per gun owner = 0.0000188
Therefore, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Think about that the next time you go in for a checkup.
Furthermore, in three separate studies it has been shown that when doctors go on strike, the death rates actually plummet. As published in the British Medical Journal in 2000, surveys of burial societies suggest that death rates in Israel have dropped considerably since physicians implemented a program of sanctions. The Jerusalem Post surveyed non-profit burial societies, which perform funerals for the vast majority of Israelis, and found that the number of funerals has fallen drastically since the Israel Medical Association (IMA) began the sanction. According to one funeral parlor manager, the same thing occurred in 1983 during a similar action by the IMA. It lasted for four and a half months, and the only area in Israel which was found to not have a reduction in its death rate was the city of Netanya. As it so happened, there was only one hospital in Netanya, and all of the doctors who worked there had “no-strike” clauses in their contracts and were therefore unaffected by the action.
It’s become increasingly apparent that the trust we once had in the modern medical profession is now being eroded, and people are starting to ask much deeper questions of the profession.
(1) Larry Dossey (Alternative Therapies Sept/Oct 2002, Vol. 8, No.5) 32
(2) Although I am in agreement with the findings of that particular study—these two particular drugs do increase a women’s risk of those diseases—it has subsequently emerged that estrogen alone does not have the same risks associated with it. It appears that the drug Provera was mostly to blame. Many women are now adversely affected by being deprived of safer bio-identical hormones that have been shown to reduce the risk of dying from multiple disease possibilities.
(3) Wall Street Journal | Feb 25th 2009
(4) Rogers S. Total Wellness. Aug 2009 pg 1
(5) Boden et al., Optimal medical therapy with or without PCI for stable coronary artery disease. New England Journal of Medicine. April 12, 2007; 356; 15:5003-16
(6) Starfield, B. (2000) Journal of the American Medical Association. July 26, 2000; 284(4): 483-5
(7) British Medical Journal 2000; 320:1561
Dr. Bruce Hoffman, MSc, MBChB, FAARM, IFMCP is a Calgary-based Integrative and Functional medicine practitioner. He is the medical director at the Hoffman Centre for Integrative Medicine and The Brain Centre of Alberta specializing in complex medical conditions. He was born in South Africa and obtained his medical degree from the University of Cape Town. He is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (IFM), is board certified with a fellowship in anti-aging (hormones) and regenerative medicine (A4M), a certified Shoemaker Mold Treatment Protocol Practitioner (CIRS) and ILADS trained in the treatment of Lyme disease and co-infections. He is the co-author of a recent paper published by Dr. Afrin’s group: Diagnosis of mast cell activation syndrome: a global “consensus-2”. Read more about Dr. Bruce Hoffman.