In Issue 248 I also reported that my partner Mike Howell and I attended a Dinner Party at the House of Lords as a prequel to the transformational New Horizons in Water Science Conference held on 14 July. Dr Peter Fisher MBBChir FRCP FFHom aged 67, while cycling in work in London was killed in a cycling accident on 15 August barely one month after we had met up and updated each other about our work while on the House of Parliament tour on 14 July – Tribute Obituary to his work and life is published in Issue 249.
Our heartfelt condolences are extended to numerous friends and colleagues in the PH Online community who have also been bereaved.
The news media endlessly reports about shortcomings of the NHS or the US healthcare model: limited resources, shortage of staff and equipment, no joined-up social care to medical care, failure to provide the latest medicines and so on.
Flaws in the HealthCare System
What is almost never commented upon are the fundamental flaws in the structure of the healthcare model which involves the patients – us – visiting our GPs and then being referred to conventional treatment, which generally involves treatment options including: prescription medication, scans, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures including organ transplants, by-pass operations and other treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy in the case of cancer.
What is almost never mentioned in discussions about improving our health and therefore of the health service is that the huge number of generally non-invasive and non-toxic diverse alternative and complementary treatments which are completely lacking from the available treatment options from all but the rarest medical practices. These include the entire repertoire of treatments and medicines from Ayurvedic, Chinese Herbal, Naturopathic Nutritional Medicine, Bodywork disciplines such as Massage, Osteopathy, and Healing Psychological Therapies.
GPs’ education doesn’t generally include any of the above disciplines, their practices don’t include these approaches and in the case of serious diseases such as cancer, most approaches other than surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are proscribed by law. This has therefore resulted in a pharmacological drug-based medical system to the exclusion of a more natural treatment approaches. As so eloquently articulated by Lynne McTaggart in her 31 August 2018 blog When You Say No to Your Doctor’s Gloomy Prognosis
“When it comes to most chronic degenerative illnesses plaguing society today, stories of complete healing with conventional treatments are especially thin on the ground…
"With so few true cures, doctors have learned to view virtually all major degenerative diseases as developing in a simple linear progression - from bad to worse. Arthritis, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases like diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, cancer - you name it - will leave you ever more debilitated and may even kill you in the end. If you’re lucky, the best that most medicine can do is to stave off the inevitable.”
And, as recently published in the BMJ 16 August 2018 Overdiagnosis and the Cancer Label
“Using loaded labels such as ‘cancer’ can make patients more worried, the authors say, which can cause them to choose more aggressive management options - with more risk of harm.
“For decades cancer has been associated with death,” the authors explain. “This association has been ingrained in society with public health messaging that cancer screening saves lives. This promotion has been used with the best of intentions, but in part deployed to induce feelings of fear and vulnerability in the population and then offer hope through screening.”
“A change in terminology could also “help shift clinicians’ perspectives and enable them to feel more comfortable recommending less invasive options to patients” - but any change would need to be assessed for benefit and harm, they say.
“…In cases of over diagnosis, management cannot improve health but exposes patients to risk of harm, including overtreatment and anxiety. The phenomenon is inherent to modern healthcare, which aims to diagnose and treat potentially harmful disease before it becomes clinically evident.”
Layered over these structural issues are genuine disparities and at time profound / violent disagreements regarding what are the fundamental clinical root causes of many illnesses - cancer, heart disease, CFS/ME, obesity – and the safety of protective health practices such as vaccinations. Often these opposing medical / scientific clinical arguments occur over decades and may surface in the public domain when recommendations for public health issues change drastically. A very few examples include cholesterol being the cause of heart disease (countered with unimpeachable evidence by erudite cholesterol skeptics such as Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD of The Cholesterol Mythsfame, reviewed on PH Online), saturated fat being the main culprit in obesity, now almost universally supplanted with sugar being a main factor in the obesity / type 2 diabetes epidemic and cancer being either a genetic disease or the sequelae of mitochondrial dysfunction.
Superimposed upon these considerable impediments to having a healthcare system which is medically comprehensive and clinically beneficial to patients i.e. not harmful to patients, is the whiff of corruption which has infected relationships between the pharmaceutical companies, organizations such as the CDC, the research clinicians and the drugs and vaccines they sell and to which they hold patents. Several jaw-dropping books on this subject have been reviewed on PH Online. A recently published exposé - 8 Sept 2018 - in the New York Times by Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals reports that:
“One of the world’s top breast cancer doctors failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug and health care companies in recent years, omitting his financial ties from dozens of research articles in prestigious publications like The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.
“The researcher, Dr José Baselga, a towering figure in the cancer world, is the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He has held board memberships or advisory roles with Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb, among other corporations, has had a stake in start-ups testing cancer therapies, and played a key role in the development of breakthrough drugs that have revolutionized treatments for breast cancer.”
In co-launching Positive Health magazine PH Online in 1994, my objective has always been to attempt to bring together conventional and alternative / complementary medicine into an Integrated Medicine healthcare structure. Some 25 years later, although this goal hasn’t yet been achieved, we continue to persevere in embodying such a positive healthcare system..
PH Online Issue 249 articles span the complete spectrum -mental and spiritual health, eye and dental health, thyroid care, pregnancy, fatigue, diabetes, colon health, juicing, craniosacral, neuromuscular, bodywork and innovative and structural approaches for back pain - and illustrate precisely how the complete panoply of health-enhancing treatments can promote optimal health and wellbeing.