Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fletch Indictment On Our Medical Profession

If your husband or father's life-support were about to be switched off and you requested he be given Vitamin C and the doctors refused, what would you do? What about if he received the Vitamin C, began to get better, and then they stopped it, and refused to continue the treatment?
That's what happened to Alan Smith, a farmer from the King Country whose story was shown on
60 Minutes last night. He caught the Swine Flu (probably while on a fishing trip in Fiji), so badly that his lungs had "white out", which is to say they were so full of fluid that they didn't show up on an x-ray. The doctors also said he had got leukemia and he ended up being put on a life support machine.


The doctors told the family the machine should be turned off, but the family asked that he be given high dosages of Vitamin C. After a fight (one of many), one of the doctors agreed. Alan began getting better; his lungs showed pockets of air. Then he began to get worse and the family found out the doctors had stopped the Vit C.


Many more fights ensued, the patient getting better while having the Vit C, and getting worse when he was taken off. Alan's wife describes one of the doctors sitting back in his chair, arms folded, rolling his eyes, looking at the ceiling, telling her that no way could the vitamin C be helping. The family hired a lawyer, forcing the doctors to continue the vit C treatment (albeit in slow dosage, until he got better enough to eat and his wife brought along sachets of large dosage herself for him to take).
Eventually Alan fully recovered, no trace of Leukemia even.


It's this attitude of the medical profession that really pisses me off; they think they know better, and any mention that an alternative treatment or a simple vitamin might help is often rubbished while they sit in their high chairs as though they are the arbiters of all knowledge. They can't stand the idea that Vitamin C might help - one because it is so simple, and two, because it was actually working.  I mean, the man was going to die; they were going to turn off his life-support. Isn't it their job to try anything and everything that might save him? And to stop the treatment when it was obvious to anyone with a brain that it was helping is a crime.  The job of Doctors is to make people well, yet they would not agree to the wishes of the family. Neither Auckland nor Waikato hospitals would appear or comment on the story.


I think that shows the level our society has come down to; with the practices of abortion and euthanasia prevalent, the value of life has become less and less to the point where it becomes easier not to expend the effort and just let someone die. 

See the video of the story from last night's 60 Minutes HERE

14 comment(s):

Canterbury Atheists said...

I didn’t see last nights Doco nor am I a qualified to debate the medical prognosis in this case but I do know one thing: when an alternative medicine is proved to be effective it becomes just plain old ‘medicine’.

I dream of the day when people who rally against stem-cell medicine and in-vitro fertilization etc are denied access to this treatment or automatically pushed down the waiting-list.

This way there will be beds and doctors available for those who embrace modern medicine over superstitious dogma, prayer and quack medicines.

All New Zealand Catholics for example would have to ‘practice what they preach’ and have no to little access to publicly funded stem-cell, fertility treatment and certainly no contraception advice or medicine.

I suggest my proposal would meet with acceptance from the leaders in your church.

Have a great day.

Paul.

I.M Fletcher said...

Paul, in actual fact the Vatican has just gone into a partnership with Neostem, a bio-pharmaceutical company to expand stem cell research. This research (quite rightly) does not involve using the cells of aborted fetuses.

Scientists in New Zealand have made huge leaps in this research, and even predict that one day people will come in with a spinal injury and be able to walk out as though they had had a broken leg. Also, taking stem cells from the patient's own nose means there is no risk of cell rejection, and thus no needs for large amounts of anti-rejection drugs.

So, your argument that Catholics are against stem cell research is wrong.

The problem Catholics have with in-vitro fertilization is the discarding of unwanted or left over embryos which, in practice, is as bad as abortion, as the outcome can be the same.

scrubone said...

Paul - it woudl be a brave person to suggest that Obama should be denied the results of successful stem cell research, but that is actually what you are doing.

Obama cut funding to Adult stem cell research, which has produced thousands of treatments, and gave it to embryonic stem cells which have created none, and have massive ethical implications.

Hey, here's something - did you know that a fundamentalist christian was the man who made the scientific discoveries that allow modern use of electricity?

muerk said...

Paul - your argument conflates different things:
i.e. -
1. People who have moral objections over some forms of medical technology.

2. Those who rely on non-scientific remedies, prayer or superstition to heal the body.

These two groups, you say, should not have recourse to medical treatment or should receive treatment after other preferential people (people who follow your world view) which given how infinite waiting lists are is effective denial.

Now, one part of your argument is perfectly valid. As a woman who disagrees with embryonic stem cell research, contraception, and invitro-fertilisation I will never require these medical technologies. I don't want them because they are morally wrong. By all means deny me, it makes no difference because I never would have used them anyway.

However you don't stop there, you would deny medical treatment to people who don't hold to a positivist world view. So the child whose parents tried to use crystals to heal their child's appendicitis would be denied medical treatment when his appendix bursts, or the woman dying of cancer would be denied radiotherapy because she wears an amulet with a healing symbol. Or the elderly man with a heart attack would be denied treatment because he is praying to Jesus that he might live to spend time with his grandchildren.

Tell me Paul, why is atheism morally superior again? Because the argument you outline would leave people to suffer and die in agony because they believe in something you can't or won't. I think this part of your argument is evil and repugnant.

leftrightout said...

Indictment on the medical profession? Hyperbole, anyone?

It is always easy, with hindsight, to pick an example in any field of life to support one's prejudices.

The questions that need to be asked are-

1. How many double blind randomised trials of this therapy have been conducted and what were the results?

2. How mnay people are alive today due the intervention of a profession you disdain compared to the number of lives saved by prayer alone?

leftrightout said...

Indictment on the medical profession? Hyperbole, anyone?

It is always easy, with hindsight, to pick an example in any field of life to support one's prejudices.

The questions that need to be asked are-

1. How many double blind randomised trials of this therapy have been conducted and what were the results?

2. How mnay people are alive today due the intervention of a profession you disdain compared to the number of lives saved by prayer alone?

muerk said...

"2. How mnay people are alive today due the intervention of a profession you disdain compared to the number of lives saved by prayer alone?"

I personally believe that doctors and their skills are an answer to prayer in and of themselves. It reminds me of this joke -

http://www.tikihumor.com/612/god-will-save-me/

leftrightout said...

muerk, you are welcome to your beliefs, but medecine deals with fact, not belief.

And who or what was the answer to prayer prior to modern medicine? Why are we so muc more priveleged than our forebears? Did they not also deserve answers to prayers and healing?

KG said...

"..but medecine deals with fact, not belief."
No clinician would deny the role a patient's state of mind plays in medicine.
So belief does have a role to play.

muerk said...

"And who or what was the answer to prayer prior to modern medicine? Why are we so muc more priveleged than our forebears? Did they not also deserve answers to prayers and healing?"

We have always had doctors who have healed to the best of their abilties. There is no doubt in my mind that the scientfic method is brilliant for medical advances, but prayer is part of human experience, including aspects of our health.

As to what we deserve... we live in a world with suffering because of original sin. What you are asking about is a massive theological topic.

I.M Fletcher said...

How mnay people are alive today due the intervention of a profession you disdain compared to the number of lives saved by prayer alone?

I do not disdain the medical profession. But I do not like their attitude sometimes when it comes to accepting treatments that obviously work that conflict with what they think should or shouldn't work.

As Ian Plimer pointed out, "If you’d asked any scientist or doctor 30 years ago where stomach ulcers come from, they would all have given the same answer: obviously it comes from the acid brought on by too much stress. All of them apart from two scientists who were pilloried for their crazy, whacko theory that it was caused by a bacteria. In 2005 they won the Nobel prize. The “consensus” was wrong".

The Bible does say to pray for each other when we are sick, but it also exhorts in the book of Ecclesiasticus, Chapter 38 -


Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who established his profession.
From God the doctor has his wisdom, and the king provides for his sustenance.
His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished, and gives him access to those in authority.
God makes the earth yield healing herbs which the prudent man should not neglect;
Was not the water sweetened by a twig that men might learn his power?
He endows men with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works,
Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines;
Thus God's creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.
My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you:
Flee wickedness; let your hands be just, cleanse your heart of every sin;
Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and petition, a rich offering according to your means.
Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too.
There are times that give him an advantage,
and he too beseeches God That his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure.
He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor.

MrTips said...

Why is it that LRO and CA can never actually argue the point?

The problem with the story as presented, (by the usual hysterical and sensationalist reported whom has done other hatchet jobs) was not that the docs refused VitC. Agreed - it seemed to work. BUT, it was not standard medical practice.

Because of that, IF it all turned pear shaped, then being a non-standard procedure, the DHB and individual docs open themselves up to litigation or censure. Now the family could sign a waiver of litigation form, but that could be challenged in court by a lawyer worth their salt (duress, stress etc.).

Obviously, this is a situation the docs are reluctant to get into. The problem is multiple in vivo trials have left VitC treatment for cancer or any major inflammatory disease in limbo - the data is simply not convincing enough.

Now granted, that does not mean some cancers or situations may benefit from VitC but it is not as cut and dried as Mrs Amanda Millar, bullshit artist extra-ordinaire, would like us to believe.

Paul Jaminet said...

leftrightout, your faith in "double blind randomized trials" is touching, but you miss the fact that vitamin C has well known immune-supporting functions, as do other nutrients, notably vitamin D and iodine.

I've commented on this at my blog, http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=439.

In truth this was a clear case of medical malpractice, whose only defense is that most other doctors would have overlooked the need for supplements as well.

The doctors' enthusiasm for pulling the plug is hard to square with the Hippocratic Oath, especially when they're leaving simple and inexpensive treatments untried.

Paul Jaminet said...

Oops, should have made a link: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=439. Sorry.

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