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Medical Student Prescribes Remedy Our Sick System Needs


#1

Medical Student Prescribes Remedy Our Sick System Needs

Emily Kirchner

I am a fourth year medical student. I’ve dreamed about being a physician since I was in sixth grade. For a long time, my deepest hopes were to get into college, be accepted by a medical school, and maintain the grades and test scores needed to keep me there. My clinical rotations have taken me to hospitals across the state of Pennsylvania-- from Pittsburgh’s North Side to North Philadelphia with stops in rural and suburban communities in between. Now I’m less than a year away from obtaining my medical degree.


#2

It clearly IS the remedy, and not only doable; but also on display in Europe's Central Democracies... along with Canada.

What stands in the way are those who profit FROM the dis-ease.

The entire medical model, however, has been too largely captured by Big Pharma and too many "cures" come down to expensive treatment programs that MAINTAIN the disorder...

Like the War on Terror, there's more money to be made from MAINTAINING conflicts than resolving them. This mentality extends to modern medicine... companies that produce Asthma inhalers or Diabetes medications prefer to have a reliable "client base" through which to project future sales and quarterly stock dividends.

The for-profit, one-size-fits-all medical management paradigm is very unhealthy on so many levels.

And I didn't even get to the matter of how much chemical overload and overall toxicity impact our food, air, soil, and water and what this onslaught means to the very premise of well-being (or health)!

In short, it's a mess. However, so long as the 1% profit holders wish to maintain their stranglehold over working families, they will hold out piecemeal "solutions" instead of the whole enchilada. That's one of the primary reasons why Sanders was kept out of the spotlight, misrepresented, and his voting count numbers totally tallied with.

Insurance is one of the major corporate players in the U.S. duopoly. The merchants of that legalized form of graft are not about to lose the kind of $ made from keeping people sick and treating their medical programs like a sophisticated game of LOTTO where a select few win the "prize" of excellent treatment and many others go without... or otherwise, receive minimal care.


#3

Indeed, universal health care rather than insurance. And from my experience, I pray it will free doctors like you to reclaim their curiosity to find out what's wrong with a patient instead of just plugging us into one symptomatic treatment after another.

As to what's to become of the insurance industry, I recommend they be shifted to providing liability insurance for gun owners.


#5

Thanks for your article, Emily. I've been a member of Physicians for a National Health Program for many years. I opened my first office after finishing a residency in 1971. I didn't learn until 4 years ago that I wasn't taught in med school what I needed to know to optimally help patients. We're taught to diagnose and then write a prescription or schedule a procedure. It isn't a healthcare system but a disease care system. We needed to be taught how to prevent disease.

No-one dies of old age, we all die of disease. Most of our diseases are related to our nutrition. Globally heart disease, cancer, diabetes are rare where nutrition is different than in the USA. As our nutrition is adopted by other countries the begin to develop our diseases.

We need to begin educating by age 6 or 7 about healthy nutrition. First, however, we need to learn about nutrition which isn't taught much in med school. A good place for doctors to start is with a recent book by Dr. Michael Greger How Not to Die. A dvd Forks Over Knives is also important. Doctors need to become teachers to educate our patients before they become conditioned by advertising, etc. to lower medical costs.


#6

I agree about nutrition except that it discounts the FACT that there's a massive corporate capture of food underway starting with Monsanto sneaking its genetically adulterated soy and corn into many foods--and never labeled as such.

How many products claim to be "all natural" or "organic" when they are neither?

Unless beef is farm-raised by highly conscious ranchers, it ends up full of hormones and antibiotics.

Most fruits and vegetables carry carcinogenic residue that's not apt to wash off with a simple rinsing.

Chicken has now been shown to carry traces of Arsenic.

Shellfish from the Gulf likely carries the detritus of the Maconda oil rupture.

Seafood from the Pacific likely carries trace radiation from Fukushima.

Even when people want to eat a healthy diet the profit motive (along with the muscle of deregulation) has seriously hampered that goal.

I have to drive one hour each way to purchase organic foods.

I once drove from Gainesville to St. Pete (along SR 19) and there was only ONE health food store the entire distance. I went in to get something to eat and the proprietor only sold vitamins and canned protein powder and such. When I complained that he didn't even have drinks or yogurt... he told me that I was the first person who ever ASKED (for that)!

Advertising is so powerful that many people equate a cheeseburger and greasy fries with "a happy meal."


#7

What part of Clinton's "never gonna happen here" doesn't Kirchner understand ?


#8

Siouxrose11, what you've written is generally true; however, avoiding all processed foods, meats, eggs and dairy is what the president of the American College of Cardiologists recommends. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, often prematurely. You might appreciate Dr. M. Greger's book.


#9

There is no silver bullet. Absolutes for all solve nothing, help nobody.


#11

I didn't mean to suggest an absolute, only a choice. There are trade offs. How long and how well do you want to live is the first question to ask ourselves. Vegan nourishment is not a silver bullet; it's a choice that many have never been told about. I view the doctor's role as primarily educational. I understand we
need to know how to fix broken bones, cure appendicitis and remove cataracts and much more. At the same time over 2 trillion a year is spent on chronic disease, and with healthier nutrition, if we know about it, we have a better choice, bullets aside. And the money saved could be used for medical education so
that today's students don't graduate owing $200,000 as many do today.


#12

It is never those who will say that nothing can be done about the way things are and insist that there is no other way of doing them.

Instead it is often the young who think of new ways of doing everything and insist on trying that better way of doing them.

That horseless carriage will never catch on said great grandpa.

The old way never believes in any new way of doing things. Funny how that works huh?


#13

That scenario sure played out at the Democratic Party caucus I attended. Some old folks could not fathom voting for Sanders while young folks "insisted on a better way of doing things".


#14

I have a chronic disease. It never got bad enough to explain my disabling neuropathies. Yes, I'm overweight, but the DM2 first showed up 35 years ago, in pregnancy. I controlled it by diet then and when it first returned, but docs threw statins at me, and only now, when I'm semihomebound, did a doctor say "Oh. Your cholesterol problem isn't absorption, it's production." No wonder the statins didn't work.

So you think I should have gone vegan 35 years ago (as it was both I and my son were downright gaunt when I delivered) and calculated what I might have spent on the statins, the metformin, now two other meds (that are controlling it), and all those doctors and given it to med students who no longer mostly would need to know how to deal with DM2, and even fewer would care about what now seems to be an aggravation of a genetically freaky autonomic system? Right. I can't tell you how sick I am of being told "I can cure your diabetes" by throwing some other extreme diet at it.

Your logic is all wrong.


#15

Sorry to hear about your experiences. You might appreciate reading Dr. Neal Barnard's book - Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing DIABETES. It applies to type two. Nursing after delivery has been shown to protect gestational diabetics from ultimately developing type 2 diabetes. Dr. Barnard has a TED talk on diabetes you might find interesting. Dr. Michael Greger discusses diabetic neuropathies in his book How Not to Die. I wish you well.


#16

Did you not see where I wrote how sick I am of being told how to cure my diabetes? Especially by physicians who know nothing about my history or my condition? I would say that's unethical behavior.

As a matter of fact (though clearly your advice would be 35 years too late), I did nurse both that child (7 mos) and his elder sibling (probably about the same).


#17

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#19

You are obviously a bright young doctor. Your argument is absolutely spot-on. By now the majority of the country agrees with us, by a wide margin. Practice your craft, develop your art, and continue to push the agenda for single payer universal health care. You will come into contact with many influential people (including your patients), keep making the case. This is just one more instance where they can be counseled to make good decisions about their health, like stopping smoking, exercising, choosing a good diet, and demanding a better healthcare system.


#20

Instead of writing at length, ... here are a few comments and questions.

Author Emily Kirchner wrote " this is the people reclaiming control over their own health care."
-- ¿ Who thinks that it has to be the whole people reclaiming control over their own health care? If it works for all 300 million in the USA, it will work for any subunit of the whole. Vermont is invited to try again. Colorado proposes to try this autumn. Why not Burlington VT? And success at one is the best argument for adopting it in more places.
.
John Maynard Keynes wrote in another context "In the long run we are all dead." In this context that is true too. If we take care of ourselves, in several respects, we get to live longer before we die. Some, such as Siouxrose11, have written of eating a safe organic nutritious diet.
.
Many of our current chronic diseases can be traced to affluenza. We have obesity, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and more, because we greatly violate the mortal sin of 'gluttony'. We eat too much and not right. (One of my politically incorrect jokes about diet is that everyone should be followed by a hungry Haitian who at each meal looks over your shoulder and asks "Hey, mon, can I have that?")(That is the socialist way: you will barely have enough because any excess will be taken for or by others.)
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For reading, perhaps try 'Arrowsmith', by Sinclair Lewis, a depiction of the US medical scene about 90 years ago, and 'The Citadel' by A.J. Cronin, 1937. "It has been credited with laying the foundation in Great Britain for the introduction of the NHS a decade later." - Wikipedia.