A medical system where patient harm is part of standard care, yes, here in the USA

THANK YOU to Dr. Makary, who is saying what I’ve thought for a long time. He’s written a book called Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care

I too have gotten very frustrated at the health care debate. In a system of care I pretty much have ZERO interest in using, why would I want insurance? Except for some catastrophic care situations I don’t want it. NO. It’s so called medical care that got me totally  disabled. I stay away from doctors who practice the status quo. Oh hell yeah.

It’s difficult to have this conversation with people who don’t understand how grossly broken the medical system is. They think it’s about my personal bad experience. The tragedy is that the problem is giant and can and most likely will effect everyone at some point or another whether they’re aware of it or not. Most people probably are not aware of how medicine has hurt them.

Why Patient Harm Is One of the Leading Causes of Death in America

The debates about health care reform frustrated me because our complex system of health care and culture of medicine were reduced to simple sound bites. People pushed the idea that changing the payment system would solve the problems. But I observed every day what I see to be the main driver of health care costs: the massive variation in the quality of care – across the country, within cities, and even within good hospitals.

I saw this variation in quality and the alarmingly high error rates, and it hit me that unless we can be open and honest that up to 30 percent of health care is unnecessary, and that 1 in 4 hospital patients are harmed by a mistake, then we’re just going to be continuing to beat our heads against a wall trying to pay for a broken health care system, instead of fixing it. (continue reading)

ProPublica is doing a series on patient harm. Go here to see the rest so far and to follow it.

To add another sad dimension to this story there was a story in New Scientist yesterday that shows that “more than half of biomedical findings cannot be reproduced.”

Is medical science built on shaky foundations?

REPRODUCIBILITY is the cornerstone of science. What we hold as definitive scientific fact has been tested over and over again. Even when a fact has been tested in this way, it may still be superseded by new knowledge. Newtonian mechanics became a special case of Einstein’s general relativity; molecular biology’s mantra “one gene, one protein” became a special case of DNA transcription and translation.

One goal of scientific publication is to share results in enough detail to allow other research teams to reproduce them and build on them. However, many recent reports have raised the alarm that a shocking amount of the published literature in fields ranging from cancer biology to psychology is not reproducible.

Pharmaceuticals company Bayer, for example, recently revealed that it fails to replicate about two-thirds of published studies identifying possible drug targets (Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, vol 10, p 712).

Bayer’s rival Amgen reported an even higher rate of failure – over the past decade its oncology and haematology researchers could not replicate 47 of 53 highly promising results they examined (Nature, vol 483, p 531). Because drug companies scour the scientific literature for promising leads, this is a good way to estimate how much biomedical research cannot be replicated. The answer: the majority. (continue reading)

Again this goes to show that while many people who read this blog have come to realize that there is virtually no science behind the use of psychiatric drugs, the fact is this is an issue throughout all of medicine. The science is badly skewed most of the time. It pays to be aware and do research whenever you need any sort of medical care whatsoever.

When I need answers about health care questions the first place I generally go is Chris Kresser’s site for alternative perspectives on the standard clinical studies. He’s a great scientist and researcher  as well as a wonderful practitioner of integrative medicine. He offers many ways we can learn to take care of ourselves while avoiding pharmaceuticals as much as possible.

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters