Will a Real Patient-Loving, "I Truely Want To Make People Well" Doctor Please Stand Up!

I read medical information all the time. As I have grown older, my health has become much more important to me. I realize I am mortal. I am also concerned with the quality of life I will have as I age thru the years. I watch news on the latest medical breakthroughs, I receive newsletters from several places, including the Mayo Clinic, and what I want to know is "how do you know who to trust?"

On one side we have the regular doctor who practices medicine based on what he learned in Med school many years ago. In California, the continuing education requirements are 25 hrs. per year, 100 hrs. over a 4 yr. period. (That's very simplified, but that's the gist of it). How much do they actually use new practices in medicine, or stick with the thing "they've always done"? Is your doctor new an innovative, or old and only into old ideas? Is he old, but prides himself on keeping up with the latest research? And the biggest question? Is he prescribing drugs based on what he gets "as gifts" from the drug companies, more than what is good for you?

According to Dr. Angell, in an article in the New York Review of Books:

"Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself...."

The Journal Of The American Medical Association authors reported that the rate at which physicians prescribe a particular drug increases substantially after they see sales representatives, attend company-supported symposia, or accept samples of that drug.

What about the most recent flack over Dr. Robert Jarvik, inventor of the artificial heart, hawking Lipitor? Jarvik ended his training after medical school, instead of completing a medical internship. He can't legally prescribe medicine to anyone and he is not licensed to practice medicine. Now their checking records for proof that he even took the stuff!

What about the most recent "News With Katie Couric" expose where Dr. LaCorte found out his prescriptions for Zantac were being turned into Pepcid by the hospital he worked for? The hospital had struck a deal with Merk to get a deep discount if 80% of their patients took Pepcid. For many of Dr LaCorte's patients, Pepcid was too strong, that's why he didn't prescribe it in the first place.

On the other side we have the doctors that fight regular medicine. They have more of a naturopathy way of practicing medicine and feel for the most part, regular doctors have been bought off by "big pharma". Reading the above, it's no wonder regular doctors fight naturopathic doctors. It cuts into their pocketbooks. Now in California, naturopathic doctors also must be licensed and have continuing education requirements, tho this line of licensing is fairly new.

But these doctors, at least the ones we seem to hear the most about, have their own agendas. They are trying to sell me some "Super vitamin" that is better than the one I use because...? Or they want to sell me some treatment that only they perform, that takes several applications over a period of time and cost thousands of dollars. They also have become a huge "marketing machine" whose interest is in the bottom line vs. my actual health.

So who gets caught in the crossfire? You and me. How do you pick your doctor? Do you blindly follow his advice, or do you research what he tells you or prescribes? Do you ask a lot of questions and get complete answers as to why?

There is a website called Supposedly you can go there and look up your doctor, hospital, nursing home and much more. I don't know how much info it has for every state, as I am just newly aware of it, but it seems like a great place to start.

I am no doctor, and obviously not all of the medical community is guilty, but this stuff scares me. Even a lot of the research is paid for by the drug companies, so how can it be unbiased? The immediate labs use some other name, but when they "follow the money", guess where it leads? It's important for all of us to be responsible for our own health care and safety. I'd say the more of this that is uncovered, the more there is that isn't. We have to pay attention, people.

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