health, medicine

Why Doctors Can’t Practice Good Medicine

Bette Dowdell

Arizona, where I live, is a standard-of-care state–as are many others, although that’s kind of a secret that you have to discover on your own.

Let me describe in a nutshell what this means: Patients get one-size-fits-all treatment, whether it works or not.

Big Pharma muscles its way onto State Medical Boards. Once there, they use that significant power to shut down real medicine. If healing happens, it’s an accident.

The Board sets standards for each medical condition, which sounds hopeful. However, the standards are intended to minimize costs and guarantee legal protection to doctors no matter what happens to patients.

For instance, the standard of care for thyroid is the TSH test, ignoring the fact this test is perhaps the premier example of unreliability, and treatment with Synthroid or a generic equivalent. Synthroid doesn’t work for the vast majority of us. That’s bad enough, but it causes an allergic reaction in lots of folks. So the TSH test is bogus, the only medicine allowed doesn’t help and may harm, your hair continues to fall out, your brain continues to be consumed in a pea-soup fog and life loses all its joy. But the standard of care has been met.

And standard-of-care State Medical Boards don’t approve of the adrenal saliva test, although it’s accurate while their preferred bloods tests are pointless. So adrenal problems remain unaddressed and untreated, wreaking all sorts of health havoc. If your adrenals are suffering, so are you–in spades.

And it’s not just about thyroid (et al) problems. State Boards decree normal cholesterol levels are too high and insist doctors prescribe statin drugs to lower them–although cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease and statins are a disaster, with serious side effect upon serious side effect. And for nothing. Research says statins save less than one life per twenty years of patient suffering and expense.

And on and on. Standard-of-care means inferior care.

And your doctor can’t do anything outside the very limited bounds of standard-of-care without risking his/her medical license. A doctor I admire said she fears the State Medical Board above everything.

Want more? If you refuse to do as you’re told, the doctor’s supposed to dismiss you as a patient.

Arizona has a doctor shortage, at least in part because doctors are leaving. They want to practice medicine in a state that still allows them to use their knowledge and skills to treat patients. Those states are few and far between.

Because of the Arizona State Medical Board, I’ve lost some doctors, and I’ve made others crazy by my unwillingness to ride with the tide. I recognize the doctor’s dilemma, but, golly gee whiz, I”m not about to live half a life.

Fortunately, my years of study give me a huge edge in self-care. So I try to break doctors in with the idea of being a coach. I’ll study, I’ll experiment on myself and I’ll tell them all about it–if, and I have to be really diplomatic about …