What Doctors Don’t Tell You don’t tell you

November 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Apparently, one of the most misused terms being hurled at What Doctors Don’t Tell You, as a rebuttal, is the term ‘science’.

We have been accused of being unscientific, of pedalling unproven and harmful alternatives, as opposed to the real thing, true ‘scientific’ medicine.

Says Lynne McTaggart. But instead of rebutting the accusations that the stuff contained in WDDTY is at best nonsense, and at worst dangerous, Lynne McTaggart goes on the attack and accuses conventional medicine of not being “remotely scientific”.

To prove her point, Lynne gives three examples of why science is not scientific…

1. Most of the science behind standard treatments is fiction. As leading members of the medical establishment have made clear in recent books, the so-called ‘proof’ of most so-called ‘proven remedies’ is data that has been invented or manipulated by drug company marketing teams.

2. Most treatments haven’t been proven to work. The British Medical Journal has concluded that only about 12 per cent of all medical treatments have adequate evidence demonstrating that they work.

3. Most treatments cause harm. Modern medicine is the third leading cause of death in the western world. Fact. Prescribed drugs and medical error kills 204,000 people every year in America alone, with only cancer and heart disease claiming more

I’m assuming reason one is a reference to Ben Goldacre and his Bad Science and Bad Pharma books. Not being within the Medical Establishment, I don’t know if he is a leading member of it or not. There is undoubtably manipulation of results by the pharmaceutical industry, it could be so much more transparent, with better publication of negative results and other stuff, but to call it all a fiction and for most medicines to not have any proof of er, proof of umm… efficacy? Science?

I’m gonna let Lynne have item number two, as I don’t have the figures to refute the ‘most’ at the beginning of that point. Thanks to a commenter on Lynnes’ post, we can see that there is more than 12% of all medical treatments can demonstrate they work. Lynne doesn’t link to anything to back up her claims. Make of that what you will.

What Lynne is referring to with the ‘12%’ is this. (We’ll not quibble over 1%, eh?)


So, 11% of treatments reported as having beneficial effects. There’s another category, Trade-offs Between Benefits and Harms, with 7%. This one has, if the title is anything to go by, also adequate evidence the treatment works, otherwise the category would be labeled “likely to be…”. These treatments may have side effects, but they are still have benefits. Not possible benefits, but actual benefits.

So that 19% of treatments that do work.

Now, lets explore this curious category of “Unlikely to be beneficial”.

‘Unknown effectiveness’ is perhaps a hard categorisation to explain. Included within it are many treatments that come under the description of complementary medicine

‘Unknown effectiveness’ may also simply reflect difficulties in conducting RCTs [Random Controlled Trials] of an intervention…

Considering the difficulties of getting homeopathy and other alternative medicines to consistently return positive results in RCTs then it’s not surprising that they are in the ‘unknown’ category. (Why they’re not in the more negative categories is a long story and not for this post). But if this is the medicine doctors’ won’t tell you vs the medicine doctors will tell you, then you need to take out of the soup of numbers all the alternative medicines and then see what percentage of treatments are beneficial, otherwise, it’s 11% of all treatments, not just the ones proven by the so-called scientific method, which is what Lynne is stating.

Moving on to number three, that most treatments cause harm, is completely unsubstantiated. Lynne states that modern medicine is the leading cause of death of death in the western world is a ridiculous claim. Adding “Fact” after it doesn’t make it one. Apparently the leading cause of death is ischemia and not ‘modern medicine’.

I’ve no idea where Lynne got her figures from for the amount of people killed in the USA by prescribed drugs and medical errors, but the next cause down after heart disease and cancer in America is strokes, with 129,476 deaths.

Next Lynne starts talking about data from the Alliance for Natural Health. Read their views on vaccines and make your own mind up. Reading their opinion on Wakefield and MMR should tell you all you need to know.

Let’s look at so-called ‘unscientific’ natural health care, which supposedly causes so much harm.

Yes, Lynne. Lets look at some more figures.

The risk of dying from taking any herbal remedy or food supplement is around 0.01 per one million people. In other words, 100 million people would have to take a supplement or herb before there is a risk of one person dying because of it.

Compare that to the risk of pharmaceutical drugs, which kill 1000 people for every million people taking them.

So that risk is: 0.01/1 million for natural substances vs 1000/1 million for drugs. In other words, the risk of lethal harm from modern medicine is 100,000 higher than that of herbal or nutritional medicine.

Firstly, Lynne seems to think that ‘herbal remedies’, ‘food supplements’ and ‘natural substances’ seem to be interchangeable. They’re not. Food supplements are different to herbal remedies and ‘natural substances’ is such a vague term it’s meaningless. But I digress. Those figures Lynne quotes are completely meaningless without pitting them against how many people had their condition improved. How many people took drugs and got better compared to how many took drugs and didn’t get better, with the same for alternative treatments. Then you’ll see a meaningful ratio for the effectiveness and risk of the various treatments. I’d be willing to bet, a higher proportion of people may have died from conventional medicine than Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM), but CAM would’ve successfully treated a much lower proportion, if any at all.

This beggars the basic question: which form of medicine is the least scientific?

Even with the capitalist manipulation of results from Big Pharma etc, you’ll find CAM is.

Lyne then waffles about science becoming rigid, and closed minded, in the usual way of someone fighting against the conspiracy of Big Pharma – Science has been captured by scientism, and so on.

In this post I have shown that Lynne uses the same techniques she accuses mainstream medicine of using to prove their case. When CAM can be explained, and shown to work using proper random controlled trials and not just anecdote, conjecture and made up words, then it will be taken seriously.

Until then, I’d rather listen to what my doctor does tell me than What Doctors Don’t Tell You tell me.

Privatising hospitals. It’s gonna work wonders, isn’t it?

November 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Circle Health took over a hospital recently. Basically a privatised NHS hospital. Everything is cool though, we’re told. It’ll be more efficient, nobody will lose out they said.

Well, predictably, guess what

[Circle Holdings] had been in negotiations with the government for two years over the takeover of Hinchingbrooke hospital; as the preferred bidder, it expected to be successful. In its document [share prospectus], the company reveals its aspiration to take over further hospitals but also spells out the risks to patients. It says: “As well as the establishment of further independent hospitals, Circle intends to significantly expand its NHS business.

“Circle’s growth has placed, and its anticipated growth will continue to place, a strain on its managerial, administrative, operational, financial, information technology and other resources and could affect its ability to provide a consistent level of service to its patients.”

That second paragraph is just wonderful, isn’t it?

h/t @DickMandrake

Free at the point of use

February 11th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Here we fucking go

Drunk people should pay for the treatment they receive at accident and emergency units, a patient’s group has said.

Oh, just fuck off with that shit.

Margaret Watt, chair of the [Scotland Patients Association], said she would be raising the issue with Scotland’s health secretary.

Ms Watt said: “Anyone who has been abusing alcohol and can’t stand on their feet and is admitted to hospital at the weekend should pay towards their treatment.

“Staff are used and abused by these people.”

Watt is conflating two issues here: 1) abuse of staff and 2) self-inflicted fucking up.

Staff also get abused by sober people when they’ve been waiting for fucking hours in A&E. People turn up at weekend unable to stand on their own two feet for a whole host of reasons, many because they’re twats and hurt themselves.

What about a drunk person that didn’t mean to get fucking leathered and had their drink spiked? Should they be charged? What about the rock climber that fell off a cliff because the hand hold was not as strong as they thought.

People that abuse staff should have their treatment refused or arrested or both.

Either everyone that ends up breaking their body due to their own stupidity has to pay for the services they receive or no one does.

What’s the difference between someone that’s drunk so much they’re livers packed in before they’ve got to the hospital and the IY enthusiast that stuck a drill through the middle of their hand (that was an interesting experience, I can tell you)?

Absolutely nothing. The means may be different but the end result is the same.

We all pay for the NHS and services it provides through our taxes. If I’ve gotta pay for treatment every time I need it, and pretty much everytime I need is is my own fault, I would opt out of the paying those taxes and spend it on private health care. It is a selfish thing. I’m not paying towards the health service to provide health care to some other fucker, I (happily) pay so it’s there when I need it. I shouldn’t have to pay fucking twice.

The way the Tories are taking it, Ms Watt will get her wish. Along with having to pay for treatments for stuff that isn’t self-inflicted.

The Scottish government said alcohol misuse cost Scotland £3.56bn a year – about £900 for every adult.

When asked about the issue of charging for drunk patients for emergency treatment, Ms Sturgeon said: “Not only does alcohol misuse burden health service and police – and the healthcare costs alone are around £267m annually – but it also leaves families devastated by the death and illness caused by alcohol.

So what if aclohol abuse costs Scotland £900 per adult per year. Charging to use the hospital isn’t going to fucking help. You won’t get peole to stop drinking themselves to oblivion because “ooh, I’d better not. I can’t afford a stomach pump this week.” It’d probably cost more to get payment out of people than the treatment itself.

Traffic accidents leave families devasted. Are you gonna start charging them as well?

Well, if somehow this is introduced, I expect a little leaflet through my door with the scale of charges. Just so I know how much every little accident or drink is going to cost me.

Nurses don’t need incentives, apparently

July 18th, 2010 § 2 comments § permalink

I’m terribly sorry, but here’s another post about a Daily Mail story.

Nurses are being given spa breaks, casino gambling lessons and cocktail-making master classes simply for turning up to work.

As usual it’s not quite as simple as that and the Mail debunks it own story in the next few paragraphs.

The Department of Health agency NHS Professionals, which supplies shift workers to about 80 NHS trusts, is giving away these and other activity breaks to encourage nurses to sign up for work and attend.

But the taxpayer-funded scheme has attracted criticism at a time when the public sector faces savage cuts.

Nurses aren’t being given freebies just for turning up for work, that would be ridiculous. In case you didn’t know, NHS Professionals is an employment agency. It supplies nurses, doctors and admin personnel to the healthcare ‘industry’.

These freebies aren’t being given away to every nurse. The nurse has to sign up to, and actually do, 10 shifts a month goes into a prize draw. Nurses aren’t given casino classes “simply for turning up to work”. These are incentives to get nurses to want to do shifts, with an obligation to fulfil before one is elligible to be considered for the prize draw. It’s not like the nurse is contracted to do the hours and they’re being given this offer, NHS Professionals are trying to get staff in to fill empty shifts.

Nadine Dorries, being the only ex-nurse rent-a-quote in the commons worth speaking to, chips in with…

To offer incentives when we should be watching every penny is madness. Just give the nurses a decent wage.

Which is saying stop spending money on nurses and spend more money on nurses.

The thing that Nadine, and to be honest most of the comments below, seem to miss is that this is to get nurses doing shifts that they don’t have to do.

Looks like mission accomplished for this article then.

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