The Dangers in Modern Medicine

image_pdfimage_print

I had originally planned to simply write a rant on the many common, avoidable and dangerous mistakes I have been witness to and experienced in modern hospitals.  Unfortunately,  the errors are so numerous that I have decided to create a new category entitled “Medical Mayhem”, where I will write a series of posts broken down into several chapters.

I am presently writing a manuscript for a book about my ordeal, so some of these posts will be sort of a sneak-peek at some of what my book will entail.  Trust me when I tell you that the page on this blog which covers my story is not but a fraction of what I endured and experienced over the last two years due to a sequel of medical errors.  The purpose of these articles and my book will be a bit of an exposé on life in a hospital from a patient’s perspective.  Unlike the ridiculously over-glorified, god-like images portrayed on television, I will paint the image of a true extended stay in a hospital in the U.S..  House, ER, Grey’s Anatomy or any other pretentious heap of dung that’s excreted from the minds of Hollywood writers are far from an actual depiction of doctors, nurses and hospitals and have only served to elevate these practitioners to the level of a deity that no human could live up to.

Medicine has become a multibillion dollar industry and never lose sight of the fact that IT IS AN INDUSTRY.  It is no different from any other fortune 500 establishment or publicly traded entity that places the fiscal bottom line above all else, including the lives and safety of its consumers.  The exact same misinformation, media manipulation, falsification of data and suppression of known dangers are implemented.  Those in the medical industries are not a more ethical brand of creature just because they chose to go into medicine or pharmaceuticals for a profession.  The same congressional lobbying, controlling the media by flexing their advertising muscle and even the same revolving door government appointments are in play – and perhaps implemented better than anyone in the tobacco, alcohol, insurance or oil industries (here I’m referring to the medical supply and pharmaceutical corporations and hospital financiers, not the doctors).

Thanks in part to the media, the medical industry conducts services under a misguided public’s incessant belief that they operate on a higher level of ethics (here I include doctors).  Maybe it’s because of all the years they have been portrayed on television as saints in white coats, who are always right, and never lose a patient due to incompetence or negligence.  The image of doctors fretting late into the nights and weekends, like a detective on a tough crime case, is sheer and utter bullshit.  Doctors rarely spend more than 5 minutes with a patient and whatever diagnosis first pops into their head  is the one they stay with irregardless of evidence to the contrary, or at least up until the point the patient crashes.  (It’s rather convenient the first diagnosis is usually whatever the “fad” disease at the time is; think “Fibromyalgia”).

I am not out to overly criticize nor paint those in the medical profession of possessing any lower values than any other human, but to illustrate that they are not divinely given any higher set of ethics, intelligence nor devotion to their patients (customers) than any other business professional.   They are mortal beings, capable of the same human error, temperament, loss of concentration in their work and annoyance with their customers as any other merchant.  More importantly, they are just as subjective to the effects of advertising and misinformation from large corporations, including pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers and food processing companies as is the general public.  It is the fact that they are held less accountable for their conduct that leads to a higher rate of incompetence than other occupations.

Doctors are simply the liaison between the medical corporation and the patient.  They’re the “kind face” or trusted salesman for the corporate giants and the legal license from which to distribute whatever drug or diagnostic device they’re marketing today (hence, why commercials always say “ask your doctor if…”).  Sort of a highly educated “stooge”, who get all of their knowledge and information based on the research conducted by the very people whose products they distribute, and rarely from any unbiased or independent studies.

Ethically speaking, there is certainly a difference between those who practice medicine, from those who sell it.  The ones who practice medicine are typically snowed, bullied and manipulated by the ones who sell it (you know, the creators of the “disease-of-the-month”).  Practitioners may have more than just money as their motivator as opposed to their corporate partners, but their profession seems to lead them to a great degree of cynicism and imperiousness.  This is understandable, given their omnipotent portrayal in the media.  But, when you mix the greed of the money-makers with the arrogance of the practitioner, you simply get an inferior product or service – which in this case means suffering and death.  Sort of like when you mix the greed of the record company with the arrogance of the performing artist, you get pop music (total crap).  The U.S. spends more on health care than any other  nation, yet we’re ranked 37th in the last WHO ranking in 2000.

It is culturally implanted in americans to have some level of distrust towards their government, corporations and salespeople, but these same skeptical people will give a theist’s faith to their doctors.  Too bad the doctors do not reciprocate even a fraction of that trust back to their patients.  Typically, practitioners consider any query as a challenge of their knowledge or competence as a doctor and quickly ignore or dismiss any questions or observations made by family members.  Family members have a much higher degree of perception when their loved one is not “acting right” or in pain and any good doctor should listen (I will cover this more in “The Cynical Attitude Of Doctors”).  About 50% of the nurses are much better at listening to family than doctors.  My wife and I both practice the same level of caution and skepticism towards doctors than we would any politician, salesperson, corporate advertiser or anyone else vying for our business.  Unfortunately, two patients we befriended were much more trusting and are no longer with us.

The biggest surprise to me is that Doctors enjoy a greater protection under the law than any other profession and are held to a lesser degree of responsibility – which seems rather ass-backwards given the fact they deal in human lives.  No matter what you’ve been led to believe, it is virtually impossible to seek financial compensation for damages inflicted on you by a doctor.  Even if successful (which is rare), there are federal caps set on medical torts far lower than on any other type business or product liability.  I cover this topic in great detail in my post in this series entitled; “Malpractice Law: Reserved Only For The Frivolous”

There was a character on the television series “Scrubs”, named Neena Broderick, who was a ravenous malpractice attorney, hell-bent on suing the doctors for every little mistake.  Once again, more Hollywood bullshit misguiding the general public about the doctor’s responsibilities if mistreating a patient.  If people knew the truth, they might be more careful when following their doctor’s advice.  After all, you alone will bear the full brunt of any errors made by your doctor, both physically and financially.  I am talking here about doctors and not pharmaceutical and medical supply companies.  These medical corporations are held to the law under product safety – not to be confused with malpractice.  Nurses and other hospital employees are covered under the hospital’s policy, but doctors are virtually untouchable, because they are not considered a hospital employee.  With no system of checks and balances in place, any industry could easily decline into a money-making racket, and the medical industry is no exception.

I am in no way attempting to persuade people to avoid medical attention when necessary.  Modern technological advances have the potential to save more lives and improve the public health like never before in history.  I use the term “potential” because like any technology, it is only as good as the technician and their level of commitment.  The real truth that the television medical dramas and pharmaceutical commercials will never reveal is that the number one killer in the United States is death due to pharmaceutical drugs – more people than are killed in traffic accidents.  Nor will you discover that the third highest killer in the U.S. is due to medical errors. [source] [second source]

Given the fact that neither my accident, nor the ones that killed my friends was reported as the medical blunders they were, would imply that there are thousands more swept under the carpet – possibly making medical errors, in reality, the number one killer.  Modern medicine does save lives, but all totaled, it is certainly the number one killer of humans beings in the United States, by far.  If we were able to add in the unreported and undiscovered errors, I am sure that it takes many more lives than it saves.  Sorry to be the bearer of that news.

This is not to scare you from seeking medical attention when warranted, but a stern warning that you must be your own advocate , do your own research (all hospitals I resided in had wi-fi internet connection in every room) and to not be afraid to question doctors and nurses.  You are allowed to refuse any medication, treatment or procedure you believe to be in error or too much of a risk.  I have heard and read blogs where people claim “my doctor is making me take…”.  A doctor cannot make you do anything.  Read your Patient’s Bill Of Rights.  A doctor must explain to you all the alternative treatments if asked.  In other words, turn off the damned television in your hospital room and do some homework!

I spent over 14 months in hospitals and was nearly the victim of many common and avoidable errors.  I was lucky that my loving wife took a leave of absence from her job and was at my side the entire time, diligently reading on her laptop.  Thanks to her watchful eye and constant research, she helped avert several lethal mistakes nearly inflicted on me by hospital personnel.  I spent several weeks either in a coma, heavily sedated or intubated, so it was important that I had her as an advocate when I was unable to respond or make decisions.  Even when sedated or on a respirator (you cannot talk when intubated), she could always tell the doctors what I was feeling or needed with impeccable accuracy.  No amount of training can teach that, it must come from someone close to the patient to read those expressions.  Try to have a family member with you if you are incapacitated or unconscious.

I understand that my life was saved by an amazing transplant and those extremely skilled doctors worked diligently to give me back some quality of life.  Though true, it cannot overshadow the reality that had I not been injured by a group of doctors and left to die as a result of their cynicism, I would have never  needed that risky procedure.  Nor can it change the fact that the same doctors who gave me back life with a transplant, nearly took that life on several occasions in the months that followed.  How I survived some of the errors is still a mystery to the doctors, so it would be an overstatement to credit them with the survival.  But these mistakes did prolong my stay in the hospitals by five months, exposing me for a longer time to hospital borne pathogens and medical errors.

While in the hospitals, I had nothing but plenty of time on my hands to research.  Though much of the puzzle is incomplete concerning where the line exists between innocent mistakes to huge cover-ups, I have arrived at a much clearer image of how the medical money-making machine and the laws that protect it coexists.  There is obviously an avoidance by the media and the legal system to bring to light the real dangers that exist in modern medicine and how it is, in fact, our number one killer.  I am left to conclude this is due to the enormous amount of money that it generates for our economy and the idea that people “want to believe” in a group of highly intelligent people who can save us from all of our ills.  Probably based in the same brain mechanism that makes people want to believe in aliens, gods, fortune tellers and psychics – and the healing powers of doctors is just as much a myth.

Mostly, I believe it’s just considered too politically incorrect and audacious to speak out against the medical system, which is why attorneys never want to point the finger of blame at doctors.  Doctors have obtained an almost divine aura of goodness around them and anyone who expresses a negative thought is treated as an infidel.  I, on the other hand, have never been considered politically correct and have little to lose at this point – so, I will begin my series with the procedure that ignited the nightmare that would become my life.

“The Dangers Of Colonoscopies”

The Effectiveness Of Colonoscopies On Cancer And IBD

“How Common Are Medical Errors?”

“Malpractice Law: Reserved For Only The Frivolous”

“The Cynical Attitude Of Doctors”

“Is Your Surgeon Licensed?  Are You Sure?”

Please leave comments.  I get a lot of readers, but few of them leave comments.  Let me know if you like what I offer or if you think I’m full of shit.  Really, I’d like to know how I am being received.

I apologize for the extra step it takes to leave a comment, which I’m sure deters some from leaving a note.  I was getting hundreds of spam comments from robot softwares, so I had to set up protection rather than shut off comments all together.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

 

 

 


Share
13 Responses to The Dangers in Modern Medicine
  1. Krystal Williams
    March 28, 2012 | 3:58 am

    The paragraph where you talk about your wife being your advocate is so powerful. And sobering. It really is a shame that you need someone to protect you in the hospital, but it’s true.

    In my experience, I’ve found that many (not all, but many) in the medical profession are often dead-set on their guidelines, rules, routines and procedures. They are typically only willing to do what their textbooks have told them to do. They seem very reluctant to base their decisions on thoughtful discretion with regard to individual cases.

    Fortunately, when I see that I’m dealing with a medical doctor who is not thoughtful and engaged, I head for the hills and take my family with me. My health and the health of my family is too important to me to blindly follow someone’s advice who is not willing to honor my perspective on a given situation.

    I was fortunate to find a general practitioner and an OBGYN (for my pregnancy) in my area who were intelligent and skilled enough to evaluate my individual case using both their textbook information AND my input to make decisions that were best for ME. I think that saved me a lot of grief. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. But I recognize that in the medical field, individuals like this are sometimes rare.

    Kudos to your wife who was not only supportive, but proactive. High five to her from me! =)

    • Wolverine
      March 28, 2012 | 4:47 pm

      Thanks, as always for your thoughts Krystal. It is the responsibility of each patient to research and assess their doctors before treatment. Unfortunately, in some cases this is impossible. I entered the hospital with only the intention of a blood transfusion, but allowed them to talk me into a colonoscopy. The injury sustained from the colonoscopy caused my condition to decline to a critical condition by the third day of being ignored by doctors. By the time I was taken to ICU, I was in a catatonic state and was unable to make any decision about the surgeon called.

      Later, we would learn that the on-call surgeon had a long history of malpractice and had had his license revoked in the State of California, but was allowed to practice medicine within the state of Florida. We would like to believe that the hospitals would screen their doctors better than that, because trauma and emergency patients do not have the luxury of having time to research their surgeons. He has since been banned from that hospital for a history of alcohol abuse and yet he was allowed to perform surgery on a critically ill patient. I will probably write a future article on this.

      Thanks again

      • Krystal Williams
        March 28, 2012 | 10:20 pm

        Oh my goodness, that is awful about that on-call surgeon! It’s almost unbelievable. Alcohol abuse and malpractice. Come on, people! I can only shake my head. Sigh…

  2. Zakariah Lafreniere
    April 4, 2012 | 2:39 am

    This skill you are talking about is critical thinking. Very rare among uneducated Americans who are addicted to internet porn and Sonyplaystation!
    I am pushing for a federal law that requires Nutrition as a required course for public school students. Much of what you discuss would be covered in this new class. Congressman George Miller what is taking so long with that bill????

    • Wolverine
      April 4, 2012 | 10:35 am

      Keep pushing for that law. Do you know that nutrition is not even a recommended study to become a doctor! I was shocked when I found that out. All dietary advice given by doctors is strictly based on the same advertising from the food manufacturers that we see. No one should ever seek dietary advice from an M.D..

      I believe that the lack of critical thinking skills in the U.S. is based on the fact that our educational system teaches people what to think, rather than how to think. People want quick answers to questions rather than doing some research and arrive at an answer based on evidence. They lose sight of the fact that all information they receive from the television and print media is paid for and brought to them by the advertiser, who are mostly the drug and food processing companies. Like the news media would actually bite the hand that feeds and report anything negative about their advertiser.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Adina
    July 29, 2012 | 10:36 pm

    By the time i was 14 I had 4 different doctors prescribing me vocodin for different reasons I swear they were simply drugging me to shut me up. I remember thinking it was insane that the doctor listened to the complaints of a 13 year old- pain in her hip spending less then 5 minutes with me-slapped a diagnosis of bursitis (based on my description alone) and sent me away with a prescription for motrin a vicodin. Research was not as easy back then (without the WWW) but when I looked up bursitis I realized that at best he was only guessing. While I was high on pills I did shut up.

    • Wolverine
      July 30, 2012 | 1:40 am

      Adina, Thanks again for your comments. It really sucks how these doctors place children on drugs so quickly. My great nephew is a hyperactive troubled child. They have diagnosed him with ADHD, which I believe he has – whatever that is. But I also notice that he seems well-behaved until after they feed him a lot of sugar – but especially sugar with wheat. Many children with epilepsy, Autism and ADHD seem to have worse symptoms when fed wheat. There are proteins in wheat (gluten and gliadin) that seemed to pass the blood brain barrier and these children do better when wheat is removed from their diets.

      About six years ago, I began having pain in my shoulder. The doctor said it was arthritis, but I wouldn’t take any meds for it. Then pain developed in my right hip, but ultimately I developed trigger finger in my right thumb, which locked at a 45º angle. Being an artist and musician, I became quite worried as each finger developed the same trigger finger and would lock and pop until I could no longer play guitar and barely hold a brush or pencil. About 2 years ago, I read Dr. William Davis’ book “Wheat Belly” and thought that maybe a lot of my autoimmune problems (arthritis, trigger finger, UC) might be caused by gluten. I finally opted total wheat cessation – not even a cracker. About six months later, the pain in my shoulders, hips and feet had completely gone and my hands had improved enough to once again play guitar and hold a pencil the way I used to. The right thumb could finally straighten for the first time in 3 years. My fingers get better each day.

      I understand what you’re saying about the drugging you out. I was in so much pain while in the hospital most of the time and many times really didn’t believe I was going to live (I had many doctors telling me that daily). When you’re that drugged out, you really don’t talk much and become quite agreeable to whatever the doctors tell you. Normally, I am very thorough and will debate the doctors on any treatment or procedure, but when they had me pumped up with dilaudid, ativan, fentanyl and who knows what else – I just stared off and remained quiet – and would probably have agreed to cut my head,off and sew it on backwards. That’s when my wife would step in and take over – she is awesome, because normally she is the quiet one and lets me handle important decision, but she had to learn to be inquisitive and stubborn quickly and she did a great job, or I’d be dead.

      So keep up what you’re doing. Do your research and decide what works best for you. If the doctor is wrong, they don’t have to pay the price – you do. No one should just blindly trust their doctors. If doctors had all the answers, they would live longer and healthier than the rest of us and they don’t.

      Thanks again.

  4. Melissa
    November 5, 2012 | 10:24 am

    I agree with many of your thoughts on the medical industry. I have reached similar conclusions, thankfully without becoming a victim so far. I’m coming at it from the angle of maternity care, which is, in most hospitals, unlikely to be evidence based–instead based on protecting the care providers from liability under the current system. At least with maternity care there is the option of voting with our feet and getting the hell out of the hospital (I birthed both my children at home with the assistance of an experienced, licensed midwife–which my insurance refused to pay for, preferring to spend 2-3x more for hospitalization).

    I see lots of parallels between my rants about maternity care and your rants. It’s very frustrating that the bottom line is not the best interest of the consumer’s life and health but the best interest of the finances of doctors and hospitals. And as Marsden Wagner says, that is not the practice of medicine. That is the practice of fear and greed.

    You might enjoy books and other writings by Dr. Wagner as well as Henci Goer and Amy Romano.

    Best health possible to you!

    • Wolverine
      November 5, 2012 | 11:13 pm

      Melissa, thanks for writing. There is a lot of sloppiness in american hospitals for sure. It is all fiscally motivated. As a matter of fact, Jackson Memorial Hospital continued to cut budgets and lay off personnel until the great Dr. Tzakis (the surgeon who masterminded my transplant) chose to leave because his staff was so short, he feared for his patients care. He is now setting up a new intestinal and multivisceral transplant program at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida.

      I will change my service to the Cleveland Clinic. I would not trust any program that has made so many budget cuts. Unfortunately, the budget cuts could be due to not getting enough cases. Because so few doctors know of intestinal transplants, many patients are dying needlessly on TPN or from necrotic bowels that surgeons refuse to remove because they don’t believe that the patient will live anyway. The doctors thought that way with me and were talking my wife into letting me die. She continued to research and pressured them into removing the necrotic tissue, so I could get the transplant. The doctors thought she was insane, but I’m still here and can hopefully save some other lives.

      Thanks for writing and for ranting about the problems you have seen in maternity care. I will check out those books. Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Rich
    November 16, 2014 | 2:05 am

    on the wall of a medical malpractice attorney friend of mine
    AMA+ FDA=DOA

    Wolverine, would enjoy talking to you about your experience and the horrors you’ve suffered. I’m a retired surgeon, medical investigator and just finished a book from the eyes of a Degenerative Disease Surveyor, and a converted Doctor of Dental Surgery who educates not medicates. Thanks in advance for your response and reply.

    • Wolverine
      January 3, 2015 | 6:19 pm

      OMG! I just came across this comment and noticed I hadn’t written a reply! I am so sorry for that and can’t understand how I missed this. Thank you so much for writing Rich. I would love to speak with you about my experiences and would also love to read your book. I have been working on a book about my experience over the last couple of years. It’s been going slower than I anticipated, because I need to take a break once in a while, because it is very difficult and emotional to relive much of it. My wife cannot read anything I have written so far, because the scars are still too fresh.

      Please feel free to contact me using the contact page (I can’t publish the email address here, or it will get spidered and I’ll receive a zillion Spam emails). I again apologize for missing this post.

  6. Elise Renee Gingerich
    July 31, 2016 | 8:32 pm

    Don’t FORGET About The FEAR BASED SCARE TACTICS, (Oh My GAWD, If YOU DON’T Take THIS, Or DO THIS, Or FOLLOW THIS ROUNTINE RIGHT NOW Subservient PATIENT Of OURS, YOU’RE GONNA DIEEEEE!) (And SOON, OMG!) And The ANXIETY FEAR MONGERING Of The DOCTOR And THEIR SIDEKICKS, While YOU ARE HALF NAKED, In A GERMY FILLED CLINICAL ROOM, Already TOTALLY FREAKED OUT….YOU Get WHAT I’m Saying, RIGHT WOLVERINE?! Just WAY TOO TRAUMATIC AND DEMEANING For The PATIENT Who IS Already SCARED That THEY ARE TOTALLY DYING, And WHO GET TOTALLY DISMISSED When At That MEDICAL “CARE” PLACE To BEGIN With ANYWAYS! HOW The HELL Is TRAUMATIZING An Already FREAKED OUT SICK PATIENT On The VERGE Of COMING UNDONE Because Of HAVING To GO To MEDCAL CARE Even BRIEFLY, How’s THAT SUPPOSED To “HELP” The POOR TRAUMATIZED PATIENT, IDIOT MODERN MEDICAL DOCTORS?! SOME “HELP”!

    • Wolverine
      August 13, 2016 | 3:49 pm

      You are so right Elise. Hit the nail straight on the head. Doctors are the masters of scare tactics. Most all salesmen use some sort of scare tactic to sell you something, but the doctors are the masters. They have the magic “C” word and they are not shy about tossing it out there.

      Nothing will motivate someone to do the most irrational and dangerous shit than to say the word “cancer”. I can’t even count how many times some family member of mine was frightened by some doctors suggesting they may have cancer — without any reason or evidence. Only to find out, what I figured all along, they had no cancer.

      Most people do not even think to ask what evidence led the doctor to even think “cancer”. If a doctor said it, it may be true. Oh shit! Let’s go in for blasts of radiation from multiple imaging! CT scan, MRI, X-rays, PET scan whatever it takes to give them peace of mind. Sure doc, I’ll let you shove that 4 foot metal tube up my ass and all the way around my abdominal cavity blindly searching through that 2 inch layer of mucus! I need to know if it may be cancer; even though I have no symptoms and felt fine when I came in, but you said the “C” word and now I’m scared!

      No one even stops to think about the fact that no study has ever been done to prove that colonoscopies find cancer. They just chop off any polyps they see, but 99.9% of all dangling polyps are benign and will never become cancerous, but it makes a good show for the patient to hand them high resolution images of that nasty looking polyp and tell them they were rescued from cancer.

      No one thinks about the fact that there has been no drop in the events of colorectal cancer in the last 2 decades that colonoscopies became the fad, but there is plenty of evidence of perforations (2.8 in every 1,000 procedures) and even more evidence of infections (a deadly strain of c.diff which is resistant to every class of antibiotic known. Only mass colonoscopies could have even created such a monster and now it is spreading).

      In the same vein, no one stops to think about the fact that about half the adults in america are on a statin drug or some form of cholesterol lowering drug, yet heart disease has done nothing but rise in the last 20 years. Since no diet could ever lower cholesterol as much as a statin drug can, and the statins today are ten time stronger than those 10 years ago, it is safe to say that humans now have the lowest cholesterol than any time in history, yet heart disease it is still our number one killer and it nearly quadruples every year. Maybe cholesterol isn’t the problem? We do not hear anyone saying that. They just keep taking their statin. It’s insanity.

      It is difficult to sell something to someone who was not in need of that thing. Salesmen know that this takes fear. We have to scare them first and make them believe they are not safe without my product or service. Like I said, doctors are the best at this. Everything they sell is done by scaring the shit out of the patient. The average American take 8 prescription drugs. Most of the medications they take are a prophylactic for some disease they don’t even have.

      Problem is, modern medicine is horrible at preventative medicine, so these drugs do little, if anything, to stop the disease, but have a buttload of negative side-effects. That’s okay, because the doctor can write you a prescription for something to alleviate that side-effect. This, inturn, creates five more side-effects, but we have medications for that; and it goes on and on.

      None of the medications designed to prevent an illness ever prevent it, yet no one complains and instead line up to get that prophylactic, even if its a procedure, like a colonoscopy. Looking inside an organ will not prevent cancer. If that were true, melanoma would have been done away with. Doctors look at skin all the time and still misdiagnose melanoma all the time. What are the chances they can spot a cancer inside a mucus lined colon?

      Not at any stage that would give them an advantage, but at $2,000 a procedure, it can buy a lot of cars, yachts and memberships to country clubs. Colonoscopies helped the gastroenterologist share the lifestyle of real doctors and surgeons. What did they do before colonoscopies? Write prescriptions for steroids and Mesalamine. Not a lot of profit in that.

      Thanks for writing and sharing your opinions here. Your opinions are always welcome.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?