I was alerted to this article, What Doctors Won’t Do, on the Guardian website by Martina Mckeough a hypnotherapist who works in our clinic – The Pain Relief Centre in Brookmans Park
(Martina does all the usual hypnotherapy stuff to help people stop smoking, gain confidence, get over fears an phobias etc, but she specializes in weight loss using the Hypno-Band method)
What Some Doctors Won’t Do. Others Will
The article was simply a list of short interviews, mainly with doctors, and was quite revealing about what some will and won’t do.
I’ve pretty much just put up the comments I liked, or wanted to say something about, so happy reading and please leave your own comments at the bottom.
This Doctor Would Rather Wait for A Plane, or Car to Crash Before Trying to Fix it
I would never take up the regularly advertised offers by private medical companies to go for a full health check. Why? Well, if you have symptoms, you go to your GP and leave it to them to listen to your history, examine you, request investigations and reach a decision. This process is known as diagnosis. A full health check when you feel totally well is not diagnosis. The procedure is known as “screening”. There are few “screening” tests where the advantages of diagnosis and treatment outweigh the disadvantages, and it is likely that your doctor has already checked for these when you first signed on with the practice, or subsequently: for example, in women, a smear test, in middle years a mammography, and for both sexes a blood pressure reading.
One of the samples taken in full screening tests is a blood test for prostate cancer. If you have prostate symptoms, it can be a life‑saving help to diagnosis. If you don’t and the screening test shows a high score, it could lead you to have potentially harmful investigations, or indeed cancer treatment, that you may not have needed.
One hears anecdotes about the advantages of health checks. One hears anecdotes about people who have fallen out of sixth-floor windows and lived, but I wouldn’t try it myself.
Mike Smith, GP
When I was at chiropractic college our Neurology Professor, who also taught medics, said that the main difference between chiropractic and medical training was that chiropractors where trained to think and solve problems, whereas at medical college they were just spoon fed the answers.
This in turn lead to chiropractors trying to prevent sickness , or at least detect problems before they became medical and therefore offer patients easy, non-drug methods to avoid what otherwise may happen.
What Dr Smith above is basically revealing is that he has very little knowledge of the true cause and nature of most of the problems he is trying to combat in practice, and he has pretty much resigned himself to the same fate as his patients – namely don’t try to fix a the plane till its crashed!
As you will see below his ideas about mammography are outdated, and if he cared to examine the facts about blood pressure he would know that not trying to find out the cause, and just giving ‘blood pressure’ pills has very little effect on mortality.
Mammograms a Waste of Time, Money, and Maybe Life
I won’t go for a screening mammogram. Down the microscope, doctors can’t always tell the difference between “dangerous” and “OK to leave alone”. So it is possible to find things “too early” that are not really life-threatening cancer. The independent review of breast cancer screening published last year in the Lancet helpfully distinguished biases, uncertainties and some bad science. The latest quantification is that of every 10,000 women screened every three years from age 50-70, about 43 fewer will die from breast cancer. Approximately 700 will be given a cancer diagnosis and a whole lot more women will be frightened by being recalled for further tests. Although most women who are told they have cancer by screening are grateful, I wouldn’t be sure whether my life was really “saved” or if I’d just become an extra cancer patient.
It appears that for every 15 women who are “screen-diagnosed”, three will still die of breast cancer (so screening doesn’t save their lives), eight will still live (so screening brought the diagnosis earlier, but treatment would have worked anyway), one will not die of breast cancer (so screening prevents this cause of death) but three extra will become “cancer victims” (so screening leads to having surgery and/or radiotherapy/chemotherapy that wouldn’t have happened in her lifetime). Screening can only be credited with one woman not dying of breast cancer, but all 15 have to be treated once something is found. It’s complicated enough to understand, and some women will take these odds. But I’m happy to wait until I have symptoms.
Susan Bewley, Professor of Complex Obstetrics, King’s College London
Would You Have the Flu Jab? This Doctor Wouldn’t
I won’t have the flu jab. Elderly patients, or those with a chronic debilitating condition such as heart failure, should consider it, but there is not much evidence that it is of benefit in otherwise healthy young people. Furthermore, the evidence that inoculation of healthcare workers protects patients is very scanty and yet there is massive pressure brought to bear on healthcare workers to be inoculated.
Stephen Leslie, cardiologist and honorary professor, University of Stirling
This Doctor, Like Most, Doesn’t Know His Medical History (because it’s not taught!)
I would never avoid having my children vaccinated. Several years ago, I volunteered with Médecins Sans Frontières and spent six months in Angola. I’d expected the poverty, but it was the arrival of kids suffering from severe illnesses that should never have occurred – illnesses easily prevented elsewhere, like measles, or tetanus – that saddened me most. That, and the quiet humility with which families would queue for hours under a scorching sun to receive their vaccines.
Now, practicing in the west, I so often meet parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their children despite the wealth of evidence regarding safety. Many of these diseases are now on the rise again. And I can’t help but wonder if vaccines have become a victim of their own success; that if we, too, had to queue for hours, surrounded by families who’d also been affected by these illnesses – illnesses that can disable and even kill – then we might not take them for granted. Damien Brown, GP and author of Band-Aid For A Broken Leg: Being A Doctor With No Borders
What Damien probably doesn’t realize is that most (over 95%) of disease that is vaccinated against actually improved BEFORE the vaccination process. I can show you the charts. The reason Measles etc. decreased has NOTHING to do with vaccination and everything to do with better sanitation and nutrition. The past few decades we have seen a slow decrease in nutrition again and less Vitamin D3 leading to lower immunity – so hence an increase in disease again. The Smallpox vaccination was very different from today’s vaccines – which is why it managed to eradicate the disease. Have you never wondered why all these other vaccines have failed? Or why we need boosters? It is because it is a load of money-making humbug.
This Doctor Thinks Like a True Scientist, and Deserves and Award
I would never dismiss an alternative therapy without first understanding how it works. It’s taken me years of medical experience to realise that just because a therapy doesn’t have evidence behind it doesn’t mean it can’t help some people. As doctors, we are trained, rightly, to seek scientific evidence of the effectiveness and safety of a given therapy. But conventional modern medicine can’t help everyone. Despite a lack of research funding, there is a slowly growing body of evidence of the effectiveness of a range of alternative therapies. A recent example was that yoga can help reduce pain and increase mobility in people with osteoarthritis. Modern medicine remains my own area of expertise, but I now realise other forms of therapy, such as chiropractic and hypnotherapy, can help.
Ian W Campbell, GP
Again, Another Free Thinking Doctor, Talking About IVF
I would never have “conventional stimulated IVF”, which involves prolonged hormonal medication for three to four weeks, making the ovaries initially menopausal followed by higher doses of stimulation. This method of stimulation is associated with higher risks of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS), which carries serious health risks for women. We can avoid these complications thanks to recent developments in making IVF safer, cheaper, more successful and accessible.
Advances in endocrinology, ultrasound and embryology have made “drug-free IVF” (natural IVF and IVM) more successful and allowed development of safer “mild IVF” protocols requiring fewer drugs in a natural cycle. Why take drugs in higher dosages if you can have a baby with no, or fewer, drugs?
Geeta Nargund, lead consultant for reproductive medicine at St George’s Hospital, London
Apart from nutrition and diet, it has also been shown that mechanical distortions of the spine and pelvis have an effect on female fertility.
To read the rest of the article What Doctors Won’t Do you can go to the Guardian site here: