4. Let The People Beware
The following are true cases (from The Great Billion Dollar Swindle by Dr. K. A. Laski):
- A person is admitted for cancer surgery on the left leg and the right leg is amputated by mistake.
- A woman admitted to a hospital for removal of a tumor in her right lung has her left lung removed by mistake. The tumor-filled lung is all she has left to breathe with.
- A twenty-six-year-old man, about to be married, enters the hospital to have an operation on an undescended testicle. Somehow, his twenty-year-old surgeon inadvertently cuts off his penis.
- An intensive care unit person falls out of his bed three times, striking his head each time, and afterward dies.
- A person in intensive care is found out of his bed, not on t’he floor or in a chair, but walking aimlessly in a delirium on the hospital roof eight floors above the ground.
- During thyroid surgery, one man’s whole vagus nerve trunk is accidentally severed, leaving him with permanent paralysis of the voice box. Another man’s surgeon accidentally removes all four parathyroid glands, leaving him with a lifetime of life-threatening agony.
- A comatose diabetic is brought to the hospital emergency room. During his hospital stay, intensive treatment with insulin, intravenous fluid, electrolytes, and all medical means are expended to save the patient. He recovers and becomes fully alert; yet, a day before going home, he collapses and enters a deep coma again. The doctors are stumped. Has he had a stroke? Has he had a relapse? What on earth happened? The answer is that the nurses failed to give the patient his insulin while in the hospital for over three days.
- The people get someone else’s lab tests, someone else’s X rays, someone else’s surgery, someone else’s baby.
- A person enters the hospital with a bleeding stomach ulcer. The clever intern puts a tube down into the stomach, hooks it up to a vacuum pump, and proceeds to suction the patient’s blood continuously, almost bleeding the man to death.
- Intravenous solutions contain life-threatening contaminants.
- Blood transfusions induce hepatitis.
- Halothane anesthetics have caused massive liver destruction.
4.1 To Rule Out Myocardial Infarction
A person with chest pain, if he is over age twenty-one, can well expect to be stuck in the hospital for at least a three-day “observation period.”
The vast majority of these admissions to “rule out acute M.I.” (myocardial infarction or heart attack) are unnecessary. The patient goes home and is none the wiser as to why he had chest pain in the first place. The physician does not educate the patient as to how to live so heart disease will not exist.
Even in those very few patients who do get heart attacks after hospitalization to “rule out acute M.I.,” there is no evidence that hospitalization is necessary in the overall picture. In Britain, people suffering from heart disease are kept at home, they are not hospitalized. The results in Britain are no different than the results in the U.S. Furthermore, the need for coronary care units is being questioned. No difference exists in mortality or morbidity rates between places where coronary care units are available and places where they are nonexistent.
A more rational care for the person who suffers from heart disease is to fast and rest. This will allow the heart tissue to heal and regenerate. Dr. Shelton has fasted many hundreds of people with heart disease with tremendous success—much moreso than any hospital could claim.
4.2 Coronary Care Units
Many times the physician, to protect himself from any possible risk, will put anyone with any chest pain in the hospital—even if the person is too young for coronary disease.
Physicians dutifully put everyone they see with chest pain in these coronary care units. Of these people, perhaps one out of five have coronary problems.
As mentioned, in England, physicians do not hospitalize patients with heart disease. They send them home to rest. Statistics show no difference between survival of heart attack patients in England and the United States. And Hygienic practitioners have the best survival rate of all because they know how to “intelligently do nothing.” They instruct their clients how to live so that neither heart disease nor any other disease will evolve.
4.3 Intermittent Positive Pressure Breathing
IPPB, or “intermittent positive pressure breathing,” is a disputed form of medical treatment that costs the U.S. public a total of $1.5 billion yearly. Consisting of forced inhalations of air, or air plus a little salt water, given briefly every three hours or so, IPPB is one of the biggest money-makers hospitals have. Costing the patient a hundred dollars or so daily, these IPPB respiratory treatments markedly raise a patient’s hospital bills and are one of the major causes for the rise in hospital charges during the past several years.
Yet, occasional deaths have occurred from these treatments. Approximately 50 percent of all pulmonary specialists insist the treatment is useless.
The fact that the individual can still breathe in between IPPB treatments means he never needed the treatment in the first place. A great number of physicians concede this but go right on ordering IPPB anyway. Remember, you have the right to refuse any treatment. You do not have to accept worthless and costly therapies.
4.4 Medical Errors
Dr. Arthus Levin cites a story concerning hospital errors (Talk Back to Your Doctor, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1975):
“There is an old story doctors at the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital used to tell. It seems a little old man walked into the MGH outpatient clinic one day to get a new pair of eyeglasses. By mistake someone directed him to the gastrointestinal clinic. Once there he got into the wrong line. Before he knew it, he found himself on his hands and knees on an examining table, having a sigmoidoscopic exam. During the procedure, the instrument accidentally perferated his bowel. The unlucky fellow was admitted to the hospital, where he underwent surgery to repair his torn bowel, developed peritonitis, and died.”
Duncan Neuhauser, a hospital expert now at Harvard, studied thirty Chicago hospitals. He found that some had death rates three times as great as others. Neuhauser estimated that overall, hospital death rates could be lowered by 50 percent.
The National Commission on Medical Malpractice found that nearly 8 percent of hospital patients were the victims of medical errors which made their conditions worse. A larger number, presumably, were victims of errors which—fortunately—did not worsen their health status. At least their health was not immediately noticeably impaired but such treatment can only result in a lowered degree of health. Remember, only the body can heal and any interference will hinder healing and repair.
Medical errors occur frequently. (We condemn all drugs and the reasons were outlined in earner lessons.) Medication errors occur in all hospitals when people (a) receive the wrong medicine, or (b) the “correct” medicine in an incorrect dose or form, or by the wrong route of administration. These errors make the poisonous effects even worse.
Milton Silverman and Dr. Philip R. Lee, in their book Pills, Profits, and Politics, assert that “from two to eight percent of all drugs doses given in hospitals are in error— wrong drug, wrong dose, wrong route of administration, wrong patient.”
Medication errors happen for many reasons. The physician makes an error when writing in the “order book.” A nurse makes an error when copying the doctor’s order from the book into her card file. Or the nurse doing out cups of “medicine” simply gives you someone else’s cup. However, any medicine is wrong and what is poisonous for one person is poisonous for another. But the fact remains that certain drugs are more toxic to certain individuals due to their particular state of health at that time.
If you elect to accept the medication your physician has prescribed for you, you should know what it looks like. If a nurse gives you a new medication, you should make sure your doctor’s orders have changed (ask her to check the order book). As I stated earlier, drugs are not indicated in disease, but in case of accidents, it may be necessary to accept some, especially if surgery is required for repair.
Dr. Levin cites another case where medication was given in error. “A male construction worker was injured when a nail pierced his right leg and fractured his fibula. On being taken to a hospital, he informed the medical student who took his history that he was allergic to penicillin. This information was passed along to the nurse anesthesist. There was, however, a question as to whether the information concerning his allergy was given to the resident who performed the surgery, and who wrote the postoperative orders. The information was not given to the staff surgeon who was in charge of the resident’s activities. The construction worker was given large doses of penicillin postoperatively. He suffered a cerebrovascular accident (stroke) followed by severe physical and personality changes.”
This case shows how dangerous drugs are and how crucial facts can get “lost in the shuffle” among the hospital hierarchy. You should be aware that this can happen. You should never assume that what you tell one physician will be communicated to all your physicians. It may be tiresome repeating the same story three or four times, but he assured that it is necessary.
4.5 X Rays
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that Americans spend $6.3 billion annually for diagnostic X rays, most of which are totally unnecessary.
These X rays (exposure may induce cancer) result in profits to hospitals and doctors and may be ordered just to help a doctor protect himself from charges of inadequate work-up in a malpractice case. Here is “defensive medicine” practiced by physicians, for physicians, with total is regard for the safety and pocketbook of the patient, whom the physician fears as a potential malpractice threat. You have the right to refuse to be x-rayed. Defend your rights!
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Choosing A Hospital
- 3. Dangers Of Hospitalization
- 4. Let The People Beware
- 5. Health Advocate
- 6. Your Rights
- 7. Abbreviations
- 8. Nursing Care
- 9. Food
- 10. Drugs
- 11. Tests To Accept Or Reject
- 12. Chemical Feedings
- 13. Surgery
- 14. Intensive Care Unit
- 15. The Emergency Room
- 16. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Is Medicine a Fraud? By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: Physician Heal Thyself – Part 1
- Article #2: Physician Heal Thyself – Part 2
- Article #3: Good Drugs
- Article #4: Good Medical Attention by Dr. George E. Crandall
- Article #5: Blood Transfusions by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton