Saturday, February 04, 2006
This straying from conventional medicine is often rooted in a sense of disappointment, even betrayal, many patients and experts say. When patients see conventional medicine's inadequacies up close - a misdiagnosis, an intolerable drug, failed surgery, even a dismissive doctor - many find the experience profoundly disillusioning, or at least eye-opening.
Haggles with insurance providers, conflicting findings from medical studies and news reports of drug makers' covering up product side effects all feed their disaffection, to the point where many people begin to question not only the health care system but also the science behind it. Soon, intuition and the personal experience of friends and family may seem as trustworthy as advice from a doctor in diagnosing an illness or judging a treatment.
The most avid users of alternative medicine do seem to be those with the deepest distrust in modern medicine. They don't just distrust doctors, they distrust the entire system. But there's an even stronger reason that so many people find alternative medicine attractive - they feel that they're making the choice themselves, rather than having choices made for them. And that's why they're willing to spend so much money on unproven techniques, and why they're more forgiving when things don't go as expected:
With help from friends, Ms. Paradise raised about $40,000 to pay for the Arizona clinic's treatment, plus living expenses while there.
"I had absolutely no scientific reason for choosing this route, none," she said. "I just think there are times in our life when we are asked to make decisions based on our intuition, on our gut instinct, not based on evidence put in front of us, and for me this was one of those moments."
......But Ms. Paradise said that her relationship with the natural medicine specialist in Arizona had been collaborative and that she had felt "more empowered, more involved" in the treatment plan, which included large doses of vitamins, as well as changes in diet and sleep routines. After four months on the regimen, she said, she felt much better.
But the cancer was not cured. It has resurfaced recently and spread, and this time Ms. Paradise has started an experimental treatment with an oncologist in New York.
She is complementing this treatment, she said, with another course of alternative therapy in Arizona. She moved in with friends near Phoenix and started the alternative regime in January.
One suspects she would not have been so forgiving of modern medicine if she had spent $40,000 on treatment that didn't work. But, having chosen to spend that money herself, against the advice of the very profession and professionals she dislikes, she has a vested interest in maintaining its legitimacy.
There's a fortune to be made in exploiting the weaker points of our natures.
posted by Sydney on 2/04/2006 12:53:00 PM 7 comments
Many people believe that medicine is pure science. And that science has perfect knowledge on how the body works and what causes disease. As part of that science, medicine knows how to cure everything and when you are not cured, somebody made a mistake and should be sued.
People don't sue the alternative medical practitioners only because the Lawyers don't perceive it worth their while.
Jake's comment is spot on based on my experiences.
By 11:54 AM, at
Trust is a critical issue. But it is important to look at the real causes and consider practical solutions:
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