"The Enemy No One Fights"

By Richard Tyler, DC

There are few things more cowardly or frustrating or painful than people, innocent of any crime, being held captive by ruthless fanatics. We -- as a nation -- have agonized over this problem for years as some of our fellow citizens sit blindfolded and alone in Middle Eastern dungeons.

Every time one of our hostages is released, days and even weeks are spent interviewing the person and his family on television and in the newspapers and in speculating on the condition of the others. We care about our fellow countrymen and are willing to do just about anything to secure their safety.

While this is the way it should be, it gives one cause to wonder why an insidious army has invaded America without our government doing a thing to protect us. In fact, this army which statistics have shown kills approximately 3,000 Americans every week, not only isn't fought but is actually subsidized by the very people it kills. Any enemy, with the exception of this one, that kills that many of our citizens would find a national emergency declared with people mounting the barricades.

Some of the leaders of this, you guessed it, medical army were called before Congress recently and the testimony brought out the fact that "at least 20 percent of the nation's health bill -- $125 billion last year, more than enough to wipe out the Federal deficit -- is wasted on unnecessary, inappropriate or downright dangerous treatments because of lack of knowledge about what works."

The preceding quote comes from a recent article in the San Diego Union newspaper about the sorry state of "scientific" (and, one must assume, well-researched) medicine.

The article goes on to say " ... doctors and surgeons continue to be plagued by doubts and disagreements about the accuracy of medical tests and diagnoses, about the value and safety of new machines and procedures, and about when, where, and how to cut, bore, and slice the human body."

The article also brought out that the Institute of Medicine admitted that a quarter to one-third of all the medical services may be of little or no benefit to patients (which I believe is being kind -- RHT). That the president of the Joint Commission of Health Care Organizations admitted, "Uncertainty about the most effective diagnostic and therapeutic approaches is pervasive." And that the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment states, "The link between the process of patient care and patient outcomes has been established for relatively few procedures."

The April 1990 issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association reported that a four-year study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that in 1984, 7,000 hospitalized patients in the state of New York alone died as a result of negligence. The same study also revealed that approximately 99,000 patients in New York hospitals were injured the same year while receiving medical care. As Dr. Mendelsohn admonished so often -- a hospital is not a safe place to be.

Yet, with all these facts, the public, led by a news media which goes gaga over an MD and has problems over whether chiropractors should be allowed the right to be addressed as "Dr.," goes valiantly forward toward the bank to pay the medical bills. Medicine can drug you to death and slice you to pieces but the public head still bows to the great Pooh Bah medicine.

From the earliest of ages, just about everyone in the United States is taught to revere the medical profession as some kind of holy calling. In fact, I've had patients who have actually resented it if I said anything derogatory about medicine -- even if they came to me because of medical failures and transgressions.

One can excuse the public's attitude toward medicine because they have had medical demigodery drummed constantly upon their retinas, tympanic membranes, and the cortical centers of their brains for so long. And the media can be excused because they have a vested financial interest in the advertising of the pharmaceutical houses. But what about some of the members of our own profession? What's their excuse? What could be the excuse of anyone who spends his life rectifying medical mistakes? Yet some DCs still put the MDs on some kind of professional pedestal. Why do we proselytize to have members of the medical profession on councils that will decide what we should be allowed to do? We actually ask the hit men of health to sanction our legitimacy.

It would seem wise if we just declared war on organized medicine as they had the nerve to do to us. This would be different, however. If asked in court what the schooling of the medical doctor was, we could show the public the medical student's paucity in training in everything from radiology to nutrition and from physical therapy to pharmacology. We could then ask why any group of individuals should be allowed to practice in areas in which they are not qualified. What makes the medical profession exempt from being qualified in all the areas in which they have the license to practice? Why should they be allowed to be the 007s of the health field?

Chiropractic seems to spend most of its time on its knees begging for acceptance from the public and recognition from medicine. This may sound audacious, but don't you think it would be nice if we attack first, for a change, instead of constantly having to defend ourselves? While no one ever pays any attention to my suggestion, I can still hope that someone in some chiropractic organization will have the common sense to extend a "friendly" academic challenge to the American Medical Association (AMA) -- a fixed number of senior students from chiropractic and medical schools taking the same basic science examinations. Maybe even some kind of TV quiz show format. To my knowledge I don't believe anyone has ever challenged the medical profession in such a manner. The very unique quality of such a challenge should garner good news coverage. Of course they would probably ignore the challenge; but even if they didn't accept, it would place them in an embarrassing position. If they did accept, we'd win. Honest. Either way we have nothing to lose. In spite of that no one seems to have the energy to fling the gauntlet.

We should then introduce legislation in every state legislature, requiring that all members of the medical profession be properly qualified through their educational processes before being allowed to perform any of these procedures they plan to execute. In other words -- let's all be painted with the same brush.

It's about time we were the aggressors and attacked the medical goon squads. They've given us more in the way of ammunition than we could ever hope for; now it's time for us to pull the trigger.

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