Articles by JCS

Fallen from Pedestal

                                                                                                         

Word count: 1718

Fallen from the Pedestal

Sometimes we chiropractors forget how good we really have it.

Yes, I’ll be the first to admit we have been marginalized, demonized, defamed and demeaned by our rivals. We have been outcast, ostracized, and publicly humiliated if not totally ignored by the media.  

It’s been a tough row to hoe reserved only for those with strong backbones, thick skins, and a resilient nature who are dedicated to a higher purpose to serve mankind despite the slings and arrows of this outrageous fortune.

Certainly the 12,000+ DCs who were arrested in the first half of the 20th century would argue going to jail for chiro was no walk in Central Park.

Change that Tune

Recent news articles now reveal that it may actually be tougher being an MD. Hard to imagine being a member of the “most terrifying trade association on earth” with the highest average salary is a bummer, but there’s more to a job than money!

For example, another shocking article appeared recently in The New York Times, “Why Do Doctors Commit Suicide?” on Sept. 4, 2014 where Dr. Pranay Sinha reveals:

“The statistics on physician suicide are frightening: Physicians are more than twice as likely to kill themselves as nonphysicians (and female physicians three times more likely than their male counterparts). Some 400 doctors commit suicide every year. Young physicians at the beginning of their training are particularly vulnerable: In a recent study, 9.4 percent of fourth-year medical students and interns — as first-year residents are called — reported having suicidal thoughts in the previous two weeks.”

Perhaps even more alarming is that after accidents, suicide is the most common cause of death among medical students.

This lunacy may explain why 69% of the physicians had misused prescription drugs sometime in the past” according to an article in Medscape, Why MDs Abuse Prescription Drugs.

It may also lead to surgeons gone wild as we recently saw in a documentary filmed Down Under, The Hand that Holds the Scalpel (August 26, 2014) by ABC television: “A joint investigation into an Australian cocaine and sex addicted surgeon banned from a public hospital who kept working in the private system.”

The downside of medical practice doesn’t end there as revealed in a jobs comparison study. For instance, an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Best and Worst Jobs of 2013,” reviewed 200 jobs in America and brought a smile to my face and a surprise to many others when chiropractors were ranked #11. The ranking of chiropractic has improved steadily from #56 in 2010 to #32 in 2011 to #19 in 2012. 

Most interesting, members of the medical monopoly didn’t fare nearly as well. I can only imagine our medical naysayers choking on this list considering “general physician” ranks #45 and “surgeon” ranks #51.

According to Medscape, Physician Earnings: Income Is Up, Morale Is Split, despite an increase in earnings, a 2013 survey found there has been a steady decline in overall satisfaction with the field of medicine with a bare majority (51%) of physicians who would still choose medicine as a career. Only 42% of doctors would choose the same specialty again, down from 61% two years ago.

School of Hard Knocks

Also, let’s consider the dues these MDs must pay to become a member of their exclusive monopoly—four years of arduous undergraduate work, the competition to be accepted to medical school, and then the long hours (80 hours/week) as a hospital resident before allowed into private practice, if they can afford the overhead and student loan payments, that is.

Their problems don’t end there since private practices are shrinking as hospitals buy up these practices. Plus, these dedicated, tired, and overworked MDs then face their patients—the sickly, the dying, and the infirmed cases that we DCs rarely treat since our patients may be impaired with MSDs, but we don’t care for the indigent or these worst-case scenarios. Indeed, have you been in an internist’s office or ER lately to see these pitiful patients?

Bad Medicine, Too

Throw into this medical mix of stress is the fact that 2,000 of the 3,000 medical treatments are considered by the British Medical Journal to be “ineffective, unproven, or too-risky-to-use.”

The Washington Post revealed to the American public this startling fact from the BMJ in a follow-up article: “Surprise! We don’t know if half our medical treatments work.” This can’t be reassuring to a country that spends trillions on medical care annually to realize much of medicine is guesswork.

No wonder most MDs are bonkers! Indeed, “Do No Harm” is impossible in today’s medical profession considering over a million patients die annually in the US from hospital mistakes and doctors errors.

Chiropractors see this dire situation especially in medical spine care, dubbed the “poster child of inefficient spine care” that is based on an outdated ‘bad disc’ theory and treated with mostly placebo treatments such as narcotic painkillers, ESIs, and spine surgery.

Where’s the Beef?

The lack of evidence in mainstream medical care is not a new issue considering many medical critics have broached this issue publicly, including the father of evidence-based healthcare, David Eddy, MD.

In an article, “Medical Guesswork,” published in Business Week, Eddy believes only 15% of medicine is based on evidence while more optimistic ethicists claim no more than 25% of medical care is based on actual science, suggesting as much as 75% of medical care is baseless. Certainly their high malpractice rates for the inevitable guesswork drives home the point that much of medicine is not only guesswork, it is dangerous and deadly.

Undoubtedly this “medical guesswork” about the failing American medical system based on “ineffective, unproven, or too-risky-to-use” treatments must be troubling to ethical MDs. This reality must create a strong case of cognitive dissonance among medical doctors whose satisfaction with the medical profession is waning despite their high compensation and social standing on top of the medical pedestal.

I have to believe much of this anxiety results from a contradiction between the MDs’ inflated perception of themselves as wealthy members of “the most terrifying trade association on earth” and the harsh reality of being in a profession that is bankrupting our country with expensive and ineffective care mostly based on guesswork.

Indeed, it’s impossible for American medical professionals to brag about their “scientific medicine” when rated so poorly by the Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally:

Executive Summary

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. under-performs relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity. In this edition of Mirror, Mirror, the United Kingdom ranks first, followed closely by Switzerland.

 

Is God Dead in Medicine?

       Compounding the stress of practicing ineffective medicine with poor clinical results is the intellectual conflict that may explain why half of MDs would change careers no matter how lofty they appear to be. Sooner or later they will have to answer for their actions in the court of law, the court of public opinion, or a higher court.

Obviously there is a lot of stress in medical school and practice, so where do these troubled souls turn for help? Considering most are atheists, they are not listening to the higher calling of God’s voice.

While this accusation may come as a shock, as many as 60% of doctors and scientists are atheists stems from the unnerving admission by Francis R. Collins, MD, presently the Director of the National Institutes of Health, the former head of the Human Genome Project, and undoubtedly the most powerful medical voice in the nation today.

I know I am treading in dangerous waters, but it must be terribly difficult for those MDs who believe in God to work in a medical environment dominated by atheists. Imagine the spiritual conflict of a believer who is chided by his own clan members for invoking the power of prayer with patients.

Little do medical students know that to be accepted by the elite within medicine they have to become atheists. Invariably they are taught, “You can’t be really smart if you believe in God.” Even in chiro education, there are those atheists who ridicule vitalism as quackery despite their lack of any alternative explanation for the innate energy that heals and keeps us alive. Instead, do these atheists pray to their own DNA, Stephen Hawking, or what?

I also wonder what the reaction of patients who are believers would be to learn their own doctor may be an atheist. Here in the buckle of the Bible Belt that may not play well on Main Street. It just doesn’t seem right that doctors who deal with life and death issues do not believe in the source of life itself, whatever it may be called.

And considering their poor results, these atheists apparently need all the help they can get! Do I hear an Amen?

I daresay atheists in healthcare are simply in the wrong science. They need to find another niche in non-vital sciences such as engineering where there is no God-factor to deal with and where there are no life and death issues.

Certainly the medical situation is in dire straits with ineffective, dangerous treatments, a roomful of sick and terminally ill patients unwilling to change to healthier lifestyles instead willing to live on a litany of meds and painkillers, a medical profession headed mostly by atheists, a dwindling monopoly due to Obamacare cutbacks, and now a dream that has become a personal nightmare.

So I say to the chiropractors of the world, count your blessings that we help millions of patients, save society billions of dollars, and we do this with just our hands! It’s just too bad we can’t get our hands on more people!

 

 

 

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