An excerpt from the November 2012 AARP Bulletin stated:  About 180,000 Medicare patients die each year from hospital accidents, errors, and infections, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Another 1.4 million are seriously hurt by their hospital care.  Isn't it time you checked out  Hospital Safety Score  for your own protection.

How Dangerous is Your Doctor?

Is this a nutty question?  In terms of chronic disease I don’t believe it is.  You may agree after reading this essay which reviews just a few of the many highly popular drugs and operations that are known to frequently fail and in some cases be outright dangerous.  In spite of the dismal record for these ineffective and expensive treatments, doctors are still prescribing them.  Even the hospitals are dangerous.  If being a patient was a job, the most dangerous job in the world would be to be a patient.

Does this mean that, when it comes to chronic diseases, today’s medical community has hardly advanced from where it was 200 years ago when the conventional treatment for bacterial and viral infections or various chronic diseases was to bleed the patient?

In spite of the medical community’s obviously dismal record with chronic diseases, my statement reflects a radical viewpoint.  To understand why, just observe people and listen to what they say.  Usually they appear to be overweight or even obese and most exhibit additional body failings.  As you listen to them, you discover they all have ailments ranging from allergies, stomach issues, dandruff, acne, diabetes, to frequently feeling sick and the list extends across the spectrum of ailments to arthritis, cancer, osteoporosis, and circulatory problems, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam.  Don’t forget to add the many mental issues such as autism, ADHA, bipolar, rage, dementia, migraines and more to the list.

Then listen to what these people say about their ailments.  They refer to their ailments as matters of fact, seemingly taking pride in them as signs of maturity.  They refer to “their” doctor with extreme reverence.  They go to their doctor(s), clinic, emergency room, or pharmacy on a regular basis.  Many people go more than once a month, some once a week!  They go seeking a cure for ongoing chronic diseases.  They take drugs, undergo operations, and some even change their diets to the ever popular USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans which:

     • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;

     • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and

     • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

These people continue to have faith in their doctors even though over time they know they are not being cured by the drugs, operations, and dietary guidelines.  The treatments at best just permit them to live with their ailments.  One has to wonder then, how can people and their medical professionals keep the faith after years of results like that?  There’s a great answer.  On my blog I posted a review of an article in BEEF Magazine by Amanda Radke.  Go to the blog and read the short article, taking note where she states:  In fact, Barry Sears, author of “The Zone Diet,” says there are three “visceral” things in life–religion, politics and nutrition. “They’re all based on belief systems and none like to be challenged.”

It’s Time to Challenge Them Again

The source for the particulars in this exposé about doctors and the medical profession is none other than AARP Magazineand the AARP Bulletin!  I realize AARP publications are not scientific sources.  For the most part AARP articles are written for the masses and generally aligned with common sense, common knowledge, politically correct thought, etc.  For instance, when it comes to dietary suggestions, AARP articles are no different from USDA guidelines, articles in Sunday Supplements, theReader’s Digest, or blurbs by Dr. Oz, and the thousands of other messengers of the “proper foods” for optimal health.  With so many people following that advice, at some point one would wonder why the number of sick people keeps increasing instead of decreasing.

The reason I’m so critical of mass media publishers and broadcasters is that they are too sensitive about offending any viewers/listeners/readers/advertisers in order to maintain advertising revenue.  The vast majority of publishers and broadcasters are supported by their advertisers--even the Public Broadcasting System and so-called health food magazines.  If these entities called for abrupt radical change, such as the elimination of most of the highly popular, fundamental food products, the mob would respond by tar and feathering them.  Oh sure, they’d have some supporters, but too few to keep the same advertising base they worked decades to cultivate.

Because of AARP’s sensitivity to stepping on toes, its negative articles on healthcare take on extra meaning for me.  One could say the information in the articles just about painted medical doctors with the same brush one would paint corrupt politicians and attorneys who are certified sociopaths.  Isn’t that something?

Modern Day Medical Miracles

Without a doubt I must give credit where credit is due.  The modern medical establishment can do wonders in treating people who have been severely injured in wars and accidents.  It also does an outstanding job addressing critical illnesses due to bacterial and viral infections and poisonings.

The first responders to emergencies these days are better equipped, better trained, and have better communicative access to professional inputs that saves a greater percentage of lives than just a decade or two ago.  The examining machinery and laboratory support for diagnosis are literally space age.  The life support machinery used today before, during, and after surgery is incredible.  Surgical skills and tools have never been more sophisticated.  The spectrum of drugs for treatment at every step of the way from moments after injury, through the operations, and beyond into recovery have definitely earned their “modern miracle” labels.

The medical personnel on the front lines who treat the injured and those infected with bacterial and viral diseases are to be given all the credit that’s due them for their knowledge, dedication, and selfless commitment.  But the praise for the medical industry stops there . . .

Modern Day Medical Atrocities

Now we shift gears from the highly effective modern treatment of injuries, accidents, poisonings, bacteria and viral infections to chronic diseases and overall medical care.  To introduce this discussion we must hark back to the BEEF Magazine quote “. . . there are three ‘visceral’ things in life–religion, politics and nutrition.  ‘They’re all based on belief systems and none like to be challenged.’”  It is here, in the treatment of chronic diseases where we find the medical profession’s Achilles’ heel.  The fault lies with the medical profession’s belief systems, not science.

Here’s a definition of chronic disease by the University of Michigan Center for Managing Chronic Disease.  It’s copied from their website.

Chronic Disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured.  Chronic illness affects the population worldwide.  As described by the Centers for Disease Control, chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States.  It accounts for 70% of all deaths in the U.S., which is 1.7 million each year.  Data from the World Health Organization show that chronic disease is also the major cause of premature death around the world even in places where infectious disease are rampant.  Although chronic diseases are among the most common and costly health problems, they are also among the most preventable and most can be effectively controlled.

The Center’s website has many resources with one focusing on food.  Guess who the Center works with in that department?  Why it’s none other than the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.  Need I say more?

I do not subscribe to the position that: Chronic Disease is a long-lasting condition that can be controlled but not cured.Chronic diseases are not inevitable nor irreversible.  They are caused by diet and many can be cured by diet.  Most of the others can be arrested by the diet.  I do not believe chronic diseases are heritable but family histories can predict which way our bodies are likely to fail–if abused.

I believe nearly all chronic diseases are body failures.  Abused bodies will always fail in time.  Food is the number one abuse because it is the primary chemical input our bodies receive three or more times per day.  The idea that food plays a major role in chronic diseases is a commonly accepted fact.  But what is not commonly understood is that our bodies require a precise balance of elements and compounds in order to function optimally.  Therefore there is a disconnect in understanding what is and is not the proper food for man.  Since the medical profession is not versed in nutrition, it simply recommends the typical government sanctioned dietary guidelines.  It’s the safe thing to do because when the patients die, there is no culpability.  Maybe that’s why the following treatments remain highly popular in spite of the knowledge they are worthless to damaging.

Part I

The Status Quo Is Profitable and Acceptable

I’ll quote the July/August 2011 issue of AARP Magazine, page 22.  “The following four operations are over performed for a variety of reasons: Some are moneymakers for hospitals and doctors, others are expedient, and still others seem to work, at least in the short term.  But evidence shows that all have questionable long-term outcomes for treating certain conditions, and some may even cause harm.”  Below are four operations and I have paraphrased and quoted from the same AARP Magazinearticle.

Stents for Stable Angina

If a patient is having a heart attack, a stent can be a lifesaver.  (A stent is a small mesh tube used to prop open an artery.)  But for heart disease patients with stable angina a stent is less effective than lifestyle changes and taking statin (antifungal) drugs at preventing a heart attack or prolonging survival.  Unfortunately most patients who have stents implanted are not properly diagnosed.  Nor have they been treated with medical therapy.  And because so many stents are implanted because of clogging of the arteries (500,000 are implanted each year for stable chest pain), they provide a false sense of security which is most damaging.  “If plaque is forming in your arteries, this is a systemic disease; a stent won’t even keep an inch of your arteries clear.  You’ll still need aggressive medical therapy to prevent future problems.”

Complex Spinal Fusion for Stenosis

“Probably less than 5% of all back pain requires surgery,” says Arnold Weil, M.D.  Yet between 2002 and 2007 complex fusion procedures increased 1,400%.  Spinal fusion is an operation that creates a solid union between two or more vertebrae.  Almost all of the surgical treatment options for fusing the spine involve the placement of a bone graft between the vertebrae and that is called Complex Fusion.  Point blank the risks are significant.  “Those who underwent complex fusion were nearly three times more likely to suffer life-threatening complications than those who underwent less invasive surgery.”  Most fusion patients experience no more relief than those who have physical and behavioral therapy.

Hysterectomy for Uterine Fibroids

Every year about 600,000 American women have hysterectomies (removal of the uterus).  Most are unnecessary.  For cancer treatments (10% of the cases) a hysterectomy is imperative but complications are common.  There’s a 60% greater chance for incontinence and higher risks for heart diseases and lung cancer.  There are alternative procedures that avoid these risks.

Knee Arthroscopy for Osteoarthritis

The Arthroscopy surgical procedure uses small incisions and miniature instruments.  A tiny telescope is inserted into the joint space enabling the surgeon to look directly at the bone surfaces and determine how advanced your arthritis is.  The surgeon can trim damaged cartilage, remove loose particles or debris from the joint (débridement), and clean the joint (lavage or irrigation).  If other problems are discovered, such as a torn meniscus (a C-shaped piece of cartilage that cushions the knee) or a damaged ligament, the surgeon can correct them during the same surgery.  Arthroscopy can be helpful if your joint pain results from a tear in the cartilage or meniscus, or if bits of debris are causing problems with bending or straightening the joint.  But studies show it is no more successful than noninvasive remedies in treating osteoarthritis of the knee.

The Alternative to Operations and Drugs

These four invasive procedures in most cases are used to treat diseases that can be cured or arrested with The Real Diet of Man and exercise.  To accomplish this one does not need a doctor.  One does not need to spend additional money, go to clinics, or hire specialists.  They just need to eat proper foods and get their body moving.  Yes, in some cases prior damage from eating improper foods can be so far advanced the body cannot fully repair itself.  But with proper diet and exercise future damage can be minimized.  The really good news is that with an excellent diet, in many cases, the health issues totally disappear!

Part II

Unnecessary but Still Professional?

For this next set of examples of needless procedures I draw from the AARP Bulletin, May 2012 issue.  The introduction discusses a cultural change in medicine.  What’s the sea change?  It’s to identify and try to reduce the number of unnecessary procedures.  But if doctors are truly professional, why would there even be unnecessary procedures?  Aren’t more procedures better?  The answer is no because an estimated 30,000 Medicare patients die annually from unnecessary procedures.

The AARP Bulletin then focused on seven of the most popular, overused tests and treatments for people over age 50 that were selected from Choosing Wisely.

EKGs and stress tests for healthy people without symptoms.

Millions of healthy people each year get this test.  Healthy people are 10 times more likely to show false positive results than a real problem.  Bone scans for osteoporosis for women under 65 and men under 70 with no risk factors.  These scans can lead to unneeded medications that can have serious side effects.

Antibiotics for mild to moderate sinus infections.

Over 80% of sinus infections are prescribed antibiotics and that accounts for 20% of all antibiotic prescriptions for adults!  Over 90% of these infections are caused by viruses and fungi/molds and antibiotics only work against bacteria.

NSAID painkillers for people with high blood pressure, heart failure and any chronic kidney disease.

NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, etc.) are prescribed/suggested for pains ranging from arthritis to headaches.  But this doubles the death rate for people with high blood pressure and kidney disease.  NSAIDs are linked to stomach bleeding and increased risk of heart and kidney problems.

CT scans and other imaging for uncomplicated headaches.

Headaches can be excruciating and frightening, but unless accompanied by other key symptoms, rarely does it make sense to get a scan.  Yet “it happens all the time.”  These tests have contributed to a sixfold increase in radiation exposure since the early 1980s.  This raises cancer risks and false positives lead to more testing and anxiety.

Dubious diagnostic tests for suspected allergies.

Just over 11% of all Americans suffer from seasonal allergies.  Millions blame food allergies for health woes.  Some doctors now perform an immunoglobulin (IgG) test for food allergies.  The problem; the test simply does not work.  The danger is a superfluous use of medications and ineffective food restrictions.

X-ray, CT scan, MRI for low back pain.

“Low back pain is the fifth most common cause for all doctor visits.”  Most patients with nonspecific low back pain get better no matter the treatment.  If older people get an image, almost always the results show an innocent “abnormality” not associated with the pain.  This leads to excessive radiation exposure and unnecessary and expensive back surgeries.

The Alternative to Tests, Operations, and Drugs

These seven procedures used to address heart disease, osteoporosis, sinus infections, high blood pressure, kidney disease, migraines, allergies, and joint pain are very popular.  The article pointed out their flaws but failed to mention that these diseases are all symptoms of the Omega-3 deficiency and fungal infestations.  That means unless the underlying causes are addressed first with The Real Diet of Man and exercise, a cure is not possible.

Part III

"The Worst Place to Be if You’re Sick”

That’s the title of the article on page 10 of the March 2012 AARP Bulletin.  Once again I’ll quote and paraphrase the article.  “Each year as many as 100,000 Americans die in hospitals from preventable medical mistakes.”  As often as 40 times a week (over 2,000 times per year) surgeons operate on the wrong person or body part.  These numbers represent the treatment given to the 37 million people a year who are hospitalized.  This incredible toll (deaths and improper treatments) makes the food safety record of every phase of the production, processing, distribution, and marketing of food (nearly one billion meals daily in the U.S. alone) appear lily white by comparison.

“The number of patients who die each year from preventable hospital errors is equal to four full jumbo jets crashing each week.”  In 2012 it is estimated that 642,000,000 people will travel by commercial airline in the USA alone.  For the past ten years the average annualized death rate for the U.S. commercial aviation industry is only 15.3 fatalities.  Obviously people are far safer flying in 747s than in going to the hospital for any kind of treatment–especially an overnight stay.

It really can’t be that bad, can it?  “A report released in January 2012 on Medicare patients found that hospital staff did not report a whopping 86% of harms done to patients.”  Obviously it is actually worse than bad!  “This latest study built on an earlier U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study of Medicare patients that found one in seven suffered serious or long-term injuries, or died, as a result of hospital care.  Researchers said about 44% of the problems were preventable.”

Mistakes range from simple to avoid to so complex it’s difficult to get it right.  A surgeon may nick a healthy blood vessel, a nurse may administer an overdose of medicine, the staff may inadequately disinfect a room, or a patient may contract a “superbug.”  Healthcare workers fail to wash their hands.  A wrong drug is administered.  A drug cocktail is prescribed that has serious side effects. The blood stream is infected by inserting a medicating tube into a large vein too near the heart and 30,000 die annually from that alone.

The complexity of medicine is partially at fault.  There are 13,600 diagnoses, 6,000 drugs, and 4,000 medical and surgical procedures.  But there is not a nuts-and-bolts system for managing that complexity–even so much as simple check lists.  There are lax rules for reporting mistakes resulting in a lack of accountability.  There is little publicly available data for tracking the safest health care institutions.

The Grim Reaper and the Grim Message

Chronic Diseases will claim 1.7 million lives this year.  Sure, all these people will die eventually, but when Chronic Diseases claims them they do not die peacefully without pain.  Usually they are wishing they will die and die sooner than later.  Most will be heavily drugged, will have endured multiple operations, and/or may have just been operated on.  Most will be in a hospital, nursing home, or in a hospice or under hospice care maybe at home.  They won’t be at home just dying peacefully in their sleep.

Here’s the statistics from Wiki on the locations of death within USA.  About 33% of all annual deaths occur in hospitals.  Approximately 20% die annually in nursing homes.  Another 13% of deaths occur in ER’s or are persons brought to ERs dead on arrival.  Using hospice data we know that 17% of annual USA deaths are in private homes under hospice care and 6% of annual deaths occur in a hospice facility.  The remaining 11% of annual USA deaths consist of patients who die at home not under hospice care or those who die in other locations.

Therefore, the summary regarding annual U.S. deaths is as follows:

  • 1) 46% occur within hospitals or their emergency rooms
  • 2) 20% occur within nursing homes
  • 3) 6% occur in hospice facilities
  • 4) 17% occur at home under hospice care
  • 5) 11% occur not associated with hospitals, ERs, hospice or nursing homes.

When you end up in the hospital, that’s the number one first step towards death.  Hospices plus hospice care mean your days are definitely numbered.  Nursing homes are next in line.  Then last on the list is dying at home and most of those deaths are probably accidents, violent acts of God, drug overdoses, heart attacks, and murders that kill instantly.  The remaining few are people dying peacefully in their sleep while still being in decent physical and mental shape.  They just plain die of old age.

A Recently Voiced Concern for Organ Donors

This is a highly controversial subject that has me wondering if I should even mention it.  It has been discussed in The Wall Street Journal and aired by PBS.  This concern comes up because a “declared” brain dead donor is worth up to $2 million.  Now that is real money.  An injured person is brought to ER with a severe head injury.  She is put on life support immediately.  All body parts except the brain are functioning normally.  Women in this condition have actually delivered babies!

In comes the doctor.  He does a few remedial tests and then says pull the plug and let’s see what happens.  The plug is pulled and slowly the body functions shut down.  He declares her brain dead and immediately she’s plugged back in, the heart is restarted, and presto her body functions come back to life.  The family is notified that she is brain dead and her driver’s licence says she is a donor.  So the preparations are made to “harvest” the vital organs.

Trusting in others is vital to survival.  Man has always banded together for support in the activities required for survival.  Today, our survival is totally dependent on our infrastructure staying intact.  When people go to the doctor with a chronic disease they are depending on the doctor to cure them.  But at what cost?  In 2012 the entire medical community will rake in just over $2,000,000,000,000 ($2 trillion).  Far and away most of that money will have been for treating chronic diseases and most of those diseases will not actually be cured by the treatments.  So if doctors can be so ambivalent regarding their pathetically poor record for curing chronic diseases with the same old “prescriptions” they’ve been handing out for decades now, what’s to say a doctor won’t go for the money when dealing with a severe head injury?  For a fact, money is far more important to many doctors than the cure.

The Record Speaks for Itself

Really good doctors, those who know that chronic diseases are first and foremost food related, focus on drastic diet changes first in their prescribed care.  If they prescribe drugs and operations they are considered only as stop gap emergency measures–not the answer.  These doctors, when they can convince the patient to follow The Real Diet of Man, know it will not be long before the patient will not need them because they have cured or arrested their disease and drastically lowered their risks of contracting another chronic disease over time.  In other words, if all the doctors who focus on chronic diseases were good doctors, it wouldn’t be long before they would have far fewer patients.

When you go to a doctor with a chronic disease, if he doesn’t first talk about The Real Diet of Man, then run, run for your life.  This doctor is either ignorant or more focused on bleeding you dry of life and treasure than he is in curing you.  The classical modern day approaches to treating chronic diseases neither cure them or prevent them.  The record is clear.  With that record then, how can any logical person proceed with the same treatments over and over and over again while the incidences of these diseases are increasing so fast that they are referred to as epidemics, a term normally applied to contagious diseases not body failures.

As George Washington lay near death Martha, fearing that it might be harmful, demanded that the doctors stop bleeding him.  But hoping to cure him they continued with more bleeding.  Unable to accept Washington's impending death, the doctors ignored his orders to stop their treatments yet later in the evening, they applied blisters to his legs and feet and a wheat bran poultice to his throat.  

Nothing changed . . .

Ted Slanker

June 19, 2012

      Doctors Statistics