Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Medicine Isn't A Good Thing

There was a report back in 1999 by the Institute of Medicine that said an estimated 98,000 people were dying every year due to medical mistakes.  Today estimates are that it's up to around 200,000 people every year which makes medical mistakes one of our leading causes of death.  This from a profession that claims its highest oath to be Do No Harm.

Why the growth is medical mistakes?  Probably because of the dramatic increase in the amount of medicine being practiced every year.  Since 1996 the number of MRIs has quadrupled and the number of doctor visits resulting in at least FIVE drugs being prescribed has tripled.  Defensive medicine carries risks with every test or procedure ordered, a fact most doctors forget.

There are lots of hospitals and doctors doing some great things to reduce these risks but the fact of the matter is more people are still dying and America's cost of health care continues to grow.  Something has to change.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A. T. Still Memorial

Last Thursday there was a service to recognize the founder of the world's first osteopathic school of medicine in Kirksville, Missouri.  Most folks don't recognize the name of Andrew Taylor Still but many more appreciate what he gave the world.  This year's ceremony was held at the entrance to the Tinning Education Center instead of graveside due to weather.

Osteopathy is much more than simple chiropractic adjustments to the back, it's a medical system that focuses on the proper functioning of the entire human body.  And I can say from personal experience that it does work, and very well.

This year's ceremony was the 93rd anniversary of the event.

Thanks Dr. Still.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Award Winning Book

The winner of this year's UnBreak Your Health Award at Reader Views is Midlife Crash Course from Gail Feldman, PhD.  The book is a hero's journey to a better, more powerful place as a result of several "crashes" in her life.  From the loss of her 35-year marriage to a skiing accident to an automobile accident the growth she accomplishes gives the rest of us hope.

Check out the newest podcast and listen to Gail Feldman describe her journey of discovery.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Adrenaline Nation

Once in awhile you run across a book that seems to resonate with the times.  Adrenaline Nation by Peter M. McCarthy is one of those kind of books.  It seems to reflect all of our too many hours at work and too little sleep world today. 

Peter was a 20-year military pilot, commander and trainer and then followed up with a career as a pilot at Southwest Airlines.  Today he's a nationally board-certified naturopath and CEO of Life Energy Holistic Partners.  He's also Chairman of the Texas Health Freedom Coalition. 

In all of his work he's seen a consistent rise in the number of adrenaline burn-out cases and wanted to discover the "what" and "why" behind this phenomenon.  His research was interesting and compelling and he issues a call for everyone to take better care of themselves.

You can listen to our podcast at at any time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Drug Business As Usual

How could I pass up the opportunity to talk about the drug industry's latest example of greed?  It seems like I regular post about the latest "biggest settlement in history" resulting from the drug industry's flagrant disregard for public safety.  Profits Before People must be on the wall at every drug company in the world it would seem.

The latest example is GlaxoSmithKline's $3 BILLION settlement for illegally marketing drugs and withholding safety data from U.S. regulators (FDA).  Yes, it's a fair price to pay ... if you're an average person.  But how many days of sales and profits does it represent for GSK?  How many billions did they make over the years they were killing people with their illegal actions? 

I have to admit I enjoyed watching one of the news shows yesterday when a doctor at one of the nation's leading medical facilities admitting that by their actions GSK undoubtedly killed people in the name of profit.  Doctors were bribed with vacations, concerts and gifts and even though they claim to be immune from such influence ... they prescribed GSK's drugs ... and people died.

There seems to be a fundamental fault, a "fatal flaw" if you will, when you base a health care system on profit.  Maybe there's a reason that every other industrialized nation on earth has a government-run health care system.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Drug Poisonings Kill More Than Auto Accidents

It may be old news but I think it's worth noting again that deaths from prescription drugs kill almost as many people as car wrecks, heading to become the leading cause of death in the United States very shortly.  In fact since the latest data from the U. S. National Vital Statistics System are from 2008, it may have already happened.

While the rate of deaths from car accidents has been steadily dropping for the past few decades the rate for poisonings has steadily increased, the rate of drug deaths has many fold.  In the old days it used to be cocaine and heroin but today it's hydrocodone and methadone.  It's not illegal street drugs that are the problem, it's prescription drugs today.

I guess we can file this under "unintended consequences" from America's health care system.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

More Medical Waste

A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows the range of prices for a basic appendectomy in California ranging from $1,500 to more than $180,000.  To say that this clearly illustrates a broken system is an understatement!  Even the lead author of the study, Dr. Renee Hsia, said, "There's no method to the madness." 

Other industrialized countries feature more government control so there is more consistent, and much lower, pricing on medical procedures.  Unfortunately even Obamacare would have little effect on such a disparity in pricing. 

The study examined 2009 data that hospitals were required to submit on 19,368 patients.  Patients were 18 - 59 years old and only those with uncomplicated cases were included for fairness.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Medical Waste

Recently I had the opportunity to experience America's health care system "up close and personal" as they say and it's easy to see why we have the most expensive medicine in the world.

In the past few weeks I've had surgery twice, once planned and once in an almost-emergency situation. Both happened in the same hospital chain locally but in different facilities. As I was being prepared for the second surgery I was given an EKG and blood work to be sure I was healthy enough for the experience. I mentioned I'd had the same work done less than 3 weeks earlier for the previous surgery and they said it was unfortunate those results weren't in their system because it would've eliminated the tests. Why weren't they? Because health care is America is designed for the convenience of the doctor and not the patient.

Every doctor rules over his own little kingdom and patients must follow his/her rules to qualify to be a patient. In this age when we can ship a package anywhere in the world overnight it seems ridiculous that we don't have the technology in health care to deal with the most basic logistics. But each doctor rules supreme in his/her little world.

In my case the doctor had my GP run the pre-op tests and submit them to his office. Since the hospital did not require him to file them in their database they were not available for any other doctor. So 3 weeks later I get to pay for the same tests all over again but this time in a hospital (can you spell $$$?).

One of the advantages of a single-payer system is a single medical database where all patient information would be available to all. But America loves its independence so we have millions of little medical kingdoms with their own rules, policies and databases. They don't play well with others and its the patient that ends up paying the bill. There's simply no excuse for this archaic system to continue with the technology available today.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dallas Health Care Ranks Poorly

I've often written about the high (and climbing) cost of health care in America. Our nation spends two or three times what other industrialized countries due to take care of their citizens. Perhaps the reason this is such a sore subject with me is the fact that Dallas, Texas is one of the most expensive health care markets in the country.

The Commonwealth Fund released a report on Wednesday that ranked Dallas 264th out of 306 hospital referral regions across the nation. Granted, it wasn't only cost that caused the low ranking but also the number of uninsured in our area. The story in the local Dallas Morning News said that "Dallas health care representatives did not dispute the report's findings but said many parts of the community are working to improve the situation."

Meanwhile, I'm heading into the hospital tomorrow to repair a torn tendon and I can assure you that it's not going to be a cheap process. I completely agree with the Commonwealth Fund's report!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bernanke Testimony

Yesterday Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified in front of Congress about the state of the economy. One of the key points in his discussion was when he called rising health care costs the "elephant in the room" that no one is talking about seriously yet.

I've raised the question of how to control health care inflation many times in this blog. I've noted that all of the other industrialized countries use some form of national health program. With only one source of payment it's possible to control the cost of health care far more effectively. The free-market model in America is one of the reasons we have the highest cost of health care in the world today.

Is there another way to reduce the cost of health care other than limiting and controlling what will be paid for health care? I haven't heard of one yet. I'd love to find one, anything, that we can do to stop this runaway train from bankrupting our country. As it is now, rather than controlling what we pay for health care in America we're going to end up limiting how much health care you get. That's the most profitable model for the medical industry in this nation.

Friday, January 20, 2012

International Berard Day

A pioneer in his field, Dr Guy Bérard has helped thousands of people around the world. To mark his extraordinary life and achievements, Bérard International Day will celebrate his 96th birthday on 20 January 2012. Auditory Integration Training (AIT), an auditory retraining programme, has been the crowning achievement of his life and has helped many people to dramatically improve their lives.

To bring his work to a wider audience, he wrote his book, recently republished as 'Hearing Equals Behavior: Expanded and Updated'

AIT is a non-invasive centre-based programme for children and adults with sensory difficulties. It involves listening to modified music through headphones for 30 minutes, twice a day for a period of 10 days as a method of retraining the auditory system. The programme addresses under or over sensitivity in hearing and reduces distortions which may affect auditory processing as well as behaviours. Following AIT many clients report functional improvements in areas affecting social, emotional, behavioural or academic performance. It's been shown to help with ADD/ADHD.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time for Action

A recent column in the Dallas Morning News shows why the time to reform health care has to be now. Steve Jacobs collected health care cost information illustrating why America may have already waited too long to get serious about health care.

By 2020 the average health insurance premium will be $24,917 compared to $14,623 in 2010 according to a Commonwealth Fund analysis. More important, the trend of employees sharing a larger percentage of the cost will continue so the $3,702 in 2010 will grow to an estimated $10,800. Don't think the deductible situation will improve because that's going to rise from an average $1,942 in 2010 to about $5,500 in 2020.

Mr. Jacobs calls this growing financial burden a household budgetary albatross. I think he's being kind. I think this problem will literally be the kiss of death for many.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kobo e-Reader

My hard-working publisher, Victor at Loving Healing Press, has another huge achievement to start 2012. Now my book is available for Kobo, the #1 e-reader in Canada (also available in U.S.). Check it out at Kobo.