When I was a child, I was the subject to what’s known as an iatrogenic injury.
Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
- Iatrogenic (ˌ)ī-ˌa-trə-ˈje-nik\
- induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures
I was very susceptible to common childhood ear infections. Rather than allow my immune system to learn how to defeat the infection itself, or perhaps starting with removing common allergens (such as pasteurized cow’s milk) from my diet and employing more natural remedies, my pediatrician chose to do what most pediatricians do: prescribe antibiotics.
Antibiotics are not benign. They have their place, particularly in dangerous infections, but are greatly overused today. In my case, the repeated use of antibiotics significantly damaged my digestive system. In the long run, after more and more allopathic treatments, I began to develop even more serious pathology from which I am still recovering. This all could have been avoided.
Unfortunately, I am not alone. I am very much not alone. Iatrogenic injury is very, very common.
In July 2000, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a report by Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH entitled “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?” The report states that iatrogenic injury inadvertently caused by doctors and hospitals was the third leading cause of death in the United States. Here are some stats directly from the report, provided by the Institute of Medicine in 1999:
- 12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery
- 7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals
- 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals
- 80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals
- 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications
This is was a total of 225,000 deaths in 1999. There is evidence, directly cited in the report, that this total may be vastly understated. “Three caveats should be noted. First, most of the data are derived from studies in hospitalized patients. Second, these estimates are for deaths only and do not include adverse effects that are associated with disability or discomfort. Third, the estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the IOM report. If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.” This doesn’t even include adverse effects that didn’t result in death.
Yes, the period 1999-2000 was 17-18 years ago. But would you say much has changed since then? As far as I can tell, Americans are sicker, and medications are being directly advertised to consumers. A report by the Commonwealth Fund think tank released in July 2017 states that the US healthcare system is worst among high-income nations. The World Health Organization seems to agree, ranking us a pathetic #37 in the world, behind Dominica and Costa Rica.
This information is pretty frightening to me. All of this risk, for a medical system that often is really a just band-aid for symptoms, rather than one that addresses the underlying cause of disease.
Faced with this information, my family still goes to its various doctors. But it’s thankfully mostly just for checkups. We eat right. And when health problems do inevitably come up, we turn to homeopathy first. Homeopathy has the power and depth to address physical, mental, and emotional health concerns at the root of imbalance, rather than just covering up symptoms. Plus, it is completely non-toxic, and devoid of unwanted side effects like death.