Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare (and a collection of other info)

We don’t have a healthcare system in this country. We have a disease management system. 

ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system?

A highly recommended documentary. Our healthcare system is deeply broken and unsustainable.

So that is a film and below are a few books that cover the same topic. All posts I’ve done in the past. What is happening in our country and around the world too is tragic and we need to demand it stops. The collection of information here is coming from several different sources.

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.

Pharmageddon, By David Healy

I did one post on Pharmageddon, David Healy’s new book already. It’s a damning critique of our pharma controlled medical system. It’s worth a second post.

Here I’m quoting 1Boring old man’s, latest post. Mickey is a retired psychiatrist with lots of insight into this profession:

Dr. Healy’s Pharmageddon is one of those books to be read, not summarized. It’s not that it’s filled with new information. He sees what the rest of us see, albeit from the position more interior than most – a neuroscientist who has been embedded in the scene. He writes about the primacy of the pharmaceutical industry, the corruption of academic medicine, the rise of the clinical research industry and the sequestration of their data, the deification of statistics, ghost-writing, etc – the things many of us decry and can’t seem to stop writing about. But what’s different about this book is first that Dr. Healy doesn’t stop with this obvious symptom list, he goes on to generalize these symptoms beyond the boundaries of psychiatry and mental health to the entire domain of modern medicine [and perhaps beyond]. While most of us remain preoccupied with the self-serving greed that lies just under the surface of these symptoms, Dr. Healy rises above [or gets underneath?] the obvious and tells us stories of how former attempts to keep this predictable human force in check in previous times have backfired and lead us to the present – the law of unintended consequences prevails [with a lot of help from a determined industry]. (read the rest)

See David Healy’s page on Pharmagedon here.

You can purchase the book via Amazon here: Pharmageddon

David Healy has also been one of the few MDs who called attention to the phenomena of withdrawal syndromes with antidepressants. That is often how many of us has heard of him. He was aware of many of the issues with psychiatric drugs long before it became more common knowledge. This book seems to go well beyond psychiatric medicine, as it should. Our pharma controlled medical industry is literally killing us. This understanding is something that has yet to filter to the masses.

Bad Pharma

These are excerpts from the forward of Ben Goldacre’s new book Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients It’s from his blog which you can see here: Here’s the forward to my new book

I think it’s safe to say that his book explains clearly why I do what I do.

Ben Goldacre for those of you who might not know is a practicing physician in the UK. “He is a British science writer, doctor and psychiatrist. He is the author of The Guardian newspaper’s Bad Science column.”

From Bad Pharma:

Medicine is broken. And I genuinely believe that if patients and the public ever fully understand what has been done to them – what doctors, academics and regulators have permitted – they will be angry. On this, only you can judge.

Yes, some of us already understand and we are angry. We are also disbelieved and thought to be exaggerating and histrionic and just downright not right in the head.

We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence, and the results of fair tests. In reality, those tests are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors are familiar with the research literature, when in reality much of it is hidden from them by drug companies. We like to imagine that doctors are well-educated, when in reality much of their education is funded by industry. We like to imagine that regulators only let effective drugs onto the market, when in reality they approve hopeless drugs, with data on side effects casually withheld from doctors and patients.

I’m going to tell you how medicine works, just over the page, in one paragraph[1] that will seem so absurd – so ludicrously appalling – that when you read it, you’ll probably assume I’m exaggerating. We’re going to see that the whole edifice of medicine is broken, because the evidence we use to make decisions is hopelessly and systematically distorted; and this is no small thing. Because in medicine, we doctors and patients use abstract data to make decisions in the very real world of flesh and blood. If those decisions are misguided, they can result in death, and suffering, and pain.

Indeed, death and suffering and pain. I’ve witnessed all among my clients and friends and myself. It was perhaps the iatrogenic drug deaths of several (far too young) clients  that brought home the deep deep tragedy of our circumstances.

This isn’t a simple story of cartoonish evil, and there will be no conspiracy theories. Drug companies are not withholding the secret to curing cancer, nor are they killing us all with vaccines. Those kinds of stories have, at best, a poetic truth: we all know, intuitively, from the fragments we’ve picked up, that something is wrong in medicine. But most of us, doctors included, don’t know exactly what.

I’d hasten to say we’ve forgotten who we are. Our bodies will tell us almost everything we need to know to stay healthy. We have forgotten how to listen. Learning how to listen is joy.

So to be clear, this whole book is about meticulously defending every assertion in the paragraph that follows.

Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques which are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials throw up results that companies don’t like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, so we only ever see a distorted picture of any drug’s true effects. Regulators see most of the trial data, but only from early on in its life, and even then they don’t give this data to doctors or patients, or even to other parts of government. This distorted evidence is then communicated and applied in a distorted fashion. In their forty years of practice after leaving medical school, doctors hear about what works through ad hoc oral traditions, from sales reps, colleagues or journals. But those colleagues can be in the pay of drug companies – often undisclosed – and the journals are too. And so are the patient groups. And finally, academic papers, which everyone thinks of as objective, are often covertly planned and written by people who work directly for the companies, without disclosure. Sometimes whole academic journals are even owned outright by one drug company. Aside from all this, for several of the most important and enduring problems in medicine, we have no idea what the best treatment is, because it’s not in anyone’s financial interest to conduct any trials at all. These are ongoing problems, and although people have claimed to fix many of them, for the most part, they have failed; so all these problems persist, but worse than ever, because now people can pretend that everything is fine after all.

That’s a lot to stand up, and the details are much more horrific than this paragraph makes it sound. (continue reading Ben Goldacre’s post)

You can get it in the US come February, but order now: Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

Get it in the UK here now.

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.

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