The Absurdity of Western Medicine
The title of this article may seem absurd to some, especially if you’re an M.D., D.O., Physician’s Assistant, nurse or simply have benefitted from allopathy. Believe it or not, this piece will not be a condemnation of allopathy (allopathy has way too much good) yet it will illustrate in the writer’s view at least its absurdity. Its aim is to bring to light its limitations and give the reader food for thought, especially when considering treatment. I don’t have an insider’s view of allopathy. I’m not a doctor or in the medical field. I only have slightly more insight than the average person. Slightly more because my father and brother are both western trained doctors, and my father went to great lengths throughout my life to illustrate allopathy’s limitations and sometimes unnecessary invasiveness. Combine that with the death of my grandmother who was killed by western medicine, my mom almost killed by western medicine and my inability to blindly trust anything or anyone. Yet I’d like to be clear: If someone shoots you in the head, please don’t go to your acupuncturist! Get your ass to the emergency room. Allopathy is excellent at trauma-related treatment. Allopathy can also be wonderful in diagnosis with blood tests, biopsy and muscular/skeletal imaging, etc…Allopathy also has treatment options for conditions that otherwise have no known cure for example dialysis. Truthfully allopathic medicine has made tremendous strides in treatments for so many issue’s and ailments only a fool would discard their capabilities! You could look at allopathy as one of many tools in your tool chest. It should be used if determined appropriate for the issue as opposed to blindly using it for every issue.
My intuition keeps me as far away from doctors' offices as I can get. Their limited and dogmatic approach to treatment which emphasizes curative as opposed to preventive methods can be unnecessarily invasive and stacked with unwanted side effects. The emphasis on curative instead of preventive may actually be why many ailments exist. In other words, allopathy may be creating many of the ailments from their own treatments that only they have treatments for. Chew on that one!
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t have much more insight into allopathy than the average person. Yet, the difference between myself and the average person is: Firstly, I had a father who opened my mind to the human element. In other words, doctors and allopathy make mistakes. Understanding that alone should create a healthy skepticism toward any prescription a doctor would give. Another aspect of my father’s teaching was there is many other approaches to dealing with issues and ailments outside of allopathy, and those approaches are less invasive and often have less side effects if any at all. Secondly, at 56 years old I personally have experienced the limitations and mistakes of allopathy in my own ailments and those of my family. I will just mention here one story since I mentioned it above and its intense verdict. I said allopathy killed my grandmother and almost killed my mother. It is true BUT it was manslaughter, not murder. At the time there was a practice of giving women estrogen injections to help with or even prevent the very natural process of menopause (aging). This practice was stopped due to the cancer it created. A cancer that slowly ate away at my grandmother where she finally succumbed after umpteen surgeries and side effects at the young age of 68. There wasn’t even anything wrong with her prior to her treatment. Back then, doctors were viewed as all-knowing gods and their many mistakes were kept well out of view. The same exact scenario almost was replicated with my mom which was utterly surprising to me considering my mom’s acknowledgement of what had happened to her mom. My mom completely healthy visited a doctor who prescribed to her a supposed bone density drug. Something he said she should take to prevent a condition she did not have called osteoporosis which is a common occurrence in older women. Again, my mom did not have this ailment just as my grandma did not have an ailment. My mom unquestioning the doctor’s advice and obviously unreflective on what happened to her mom took the drug. Not long after a hole developed in my mom’s gums. This hole was growing larger and the bone underneath was visible. The first doctor she saw pertaining to the hole said don’t worry about it let’s just keep watching it. I had encouraged her to get a second opinion which she did. The second doctor diagnosed my mom’s condition as osteonecrosis which is the deadly “bone dead” disease. Shortly after this incident the drug prescribed to my mom had been removed from the market. Of course, since then there has been many lawsuits. My mom fully recovered and she is tremendously fortunate!
While renting a home in Venice beach many years back I had a neighbor named Ron. Ron was a big and boisterous, yet very sweet guy who would literally knock on my door each evening to see if I was interested in walking my dogs with him. Ron was an M.D. who if I’m remembering correctly, had a family practice somewhere in the greater Los Angeles area. I distinctly recall one of our many conversations where he was telling me each Friday evening he was treated to an amazing meal at a high end restaurant courtesy of a drug company. A practice that should be illegal due to the obvious conflict of interest but is not. These drug companies have very sexy sales people, who have very sexy sales pitches, which are delivered at very sexy restaurants. Not much different than the sexy model on television or magazine selling you skin cream. Remember, doctors are humans and they can be manipulated same as anyone, and they are! Yes, doctors tend to be very smart people. Much smarter than me! I could not endure the high level of math and science doctors are required to go through. But just because they are smart doesn’t make them wise. Smart means “a good memory”. Wise means they follow their Hippocratic Oath.
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of over treatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.
How are the doctors benefiting from their advice and prescriptions to you? Just as the corporate world influences government policy through their lobbying, the drug companies influence the medical community (half of our population is on a prescription drug and my son doesn’t have a friend who is not on medication). The big drug companies are the richest companies on the planet. This doesn’t even address the vested interest a doctor has in keeping their patients coming back so they can maintain their lifestyles. I’ve read studies that state 50% of doctors’ visits are unnecessary. Although, personally I believe it’s more.
Doctors can literally go to school up to 12 years if you count residency and internships, and certainly they should be adequately compensated but not on the backs of their patients who either have trouble paying for a procedure or trouble paying for the insurance that pays for the procedure. Personally, I have never had medical insurance except during the Obama administration where it was mandated by law. During that 8 year period I had to pay $21,000 per year to have the insurance that allowed my family of 6 to keep the doctors we wanted. That’s a total of $168,000. I paid into insurance over 8 years. Meanwhile, we used it one time for a total of around $5,000 when my son broke his leg. Something is rotten in Denmark. We all know our medical system is broken badly I don’t want this article to perseverate further in this direction yet all this ties into the absurdity of western medicine.
As mentioned earlier, allopathy focuses is on curative medicine which certainly has its absurdity. Sure it’s true if someone is in immense pain it would be nice to relieve them of pain, if someone has a malignant tumor it would be nice to eradicate that tumor. So, again, allopathy can be a tool used when necessary, no doubt! Usually the invasiveness of these procedures come with side effects, yet in some instances those side effects are well worth it. So, again, allopathy has its place within the myriad of healing options. We are being told by our scientific community and the American Medical Association that most disease (over 80% and likely higher) is coming from mental stress. Most disease is coming from our lifestyle choices, relationships and mentality. We are also aware of environmental toxicity like air pollution, water pollution and food additives and toxins and their contribution to disease (like DDT and its connection to cancer). When is the last time you heard a doctor tell you to seek marriage counseling or shift to an organic diet, purchase air filters, or meditate etc…A doctor may prescribe a drug due to an ailment that’s caused by a vitamin deficiency. Last I checked, an M.D. was not required to take a nutrition class (hopefully this has changed). If you suppress or even cure a disease without eradicating its cause, won’t it just come back? But if we eradicate its cause how will the doctors and drug companies make money? No disease, no money! Just food for thought!
My hope is that one day the allopathic community embraces alternative medicine and preventative medicine as much as curative medicine, and when one visits the doctors they’re given all possible choices and remedies instead of just limited to allopathy. This includes remedies that would minimize a doctors (and drug companies) profits and remedies that would place responsibility on the patient to shift lifestyle choices. This is all part of the Hippocratic Oath. It’s not possible for people to make informed decisions about their own health if they are not educated by the people they pay so much money to and are supposed to trust.
Some people become doctors because a doctor reflects status, wealth and success. These people are not healers, they are technicians, yet some people become doctors because they truly care about other people’s well-being and I hope you find one of these!
Sincerely. Bryan Kest