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Issue Home April 18, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Death By Good Intentions

If someone asked you what is the leading cause of death in the United States, you would probably answer correctly, heart disease (1 million). And what ranks second? Chances are you have never even heard of it.

The No. 2 killer is iatrogenic mortality – deaths caused by unnecessary and faulty medical procedures. Plainly speaking, doctors and medical personnel account for 780,000 deaths a year, every year.

If you skipped cancer (550,000 deaths), iatrogenic caused death is more than twice that of the next eight leading causes of death. Yet, inexplicably, it is not even mentioned among the top ten.

The mere fact of entering a hospital puts one in the danger zone. Annually, there are 9 million unnecessary hospitalizations. These patients are subjected to 7.5 million unnecessary medical and surgical procedures. In many cases, a consequence of this treatment is infection.

Hospital-caused infections are notoriously difficult to treat. They are caused by bacteria that have developed immunity to most antibiotics. Annually, 500,000 patients acquire hospital infections that are commonly worse than the illness that prompted their admittance.

So are doctors evil-minded practitioners driven by greed? No, of course not. But they are human, and they believe in the application of the procedures they were taught in medical school. But 16 million unnecessary medical interventions attest to the fact that physicians are overly zealous.

Superfluous medical treatments are also driven by the threat of malpractice suits. Doctors are almost forced to over-prescribe to protect themselves against lawsuits. Add to this warning-light medicine. Imagine a warning light flashing on your car's dashboard. You take it to a mechanic. He disconnects the warning light. Presto! Problem fixed, right? Worse than wrong.

The medical parallel to the mechanic are doctors who practice warning-light medicine. They prescribe palliative drugs that, in effect, disconnect the warning light. The symptoms are alleviated while the underlying cause is ignored. Patients, themselves, demand this kind of quick-and-easy non-treatment treatment.

Medical schools are also at fault. They emphasize the diagnosis and pharmaceutical treatment of disease, rather than identifying the underlying cause and prevention. Without question, catastrophic medicine – car accidents, burns, fractures – as practiced in the United States is par excellent. Reconstruction and cosmetic surgery are also leading edge. But using pharmaceuticals to treat syndrome X rates a D.

Syndrome X is a constellation of common disorders: insulin resistance, hypertension, cholesterol abnormalities, and obesity are the most common. Spend your money on drugs for these ailments and you'll be short-changed. But beware; going cold turkey on prescribed drugs can be dangerous, even lethal. Seek the guidance of a physician who specializes in the nutritional treatment of syndrome X.

These treatments are effective with only one side effect – better health.

Basically, they include lifestyle changes in diet that you can begin right now.

Start at the supermarket. Drive straight through the junk and packaged food aisles to the fresh fruits and vegetables section and park your cart. Include these foods in your daily diet, particularly the veggies. Add yogurt and cheese to the menu. And avoid highly processed foods and oils, hydrogenated fats, margarine, and sugar-saturated drinks as if your life depends on it – literally, it does.


Bob Scroggins

New Milford, PA

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Letters To The Editor MUST BE SIGNED. They MUST INCLUDE a phone number for "daytime" contact. Letters MUST BE CONFIRMED VERBALLY with the author, before printing. At that time you may request to withhold your name. Letters should be as concise as possible, to keep both Readers' and Editors' interest alike. Your opinions are important to us, but you must follow these guidelines to help assure their publishing.

Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript

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