YOUR DOCTOR’S PRIORITIES
By Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© April 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Disclaimer: I never suggest that you stop any medication or postpone any medical diagnostic test, treatment, procedure or intervention.
Also, in this article, I am not trying to denigrate doctors, some of whom do a superb job. However, as a patient you need to be aware of the problems within the health professions.
The principle of this article. A simple, but profound principle of relationships and economic benefit is that anything that gets between the doctor and patient will interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and lower the quality of health care.
Stated as an economic principle, anything that gets between the buyer and the seller of services will reduce the quality of the service.
This article includes facts about the American and most other medical care systems that are not pleasant to discuss. The goal is to assist you to make better choices about drugs, insurance, doctors and even going to the hospital, should you require a visit there.
It will also help you in dealing with holistic, chiropractic, naturopathic and other types of doctors. At the end of each of the sections below, I put the impact of the problem area upon holistic and alternative doctors and healers.
The sad truth is that your health is no longer the first priority of your doctor. Another way to say this is that blocks have been placed between the doctor and the patient in modern health care. These are:
PRIORITY #1. LICENSING BOARDS
Your doctor’s first loyalty is to his state licensing board. (There are also national medical licensing boards that control the state boards, so they are not independent.)
If any licensed doctor does not abide by the dictates of his licensing board, he or she will lose their license and will be unable to work. So loyalty to this board always comes first, before any patient concerns.
This is a powerful argument against medical licensing, which I discuss at length in another article, entitled The Case Against Medical Licensing.
The state licensing boards are supposed to “protect you” by dictating to your doctor, and to your laboratory and hospital, exactly what they may and may not say and do. Sadly, people vote for more licensing, thinking this protects them.
The truth is that occupational licensing mainly protects the status quo, including the drug medical cartel that is discussed in other articles on this website. It does not protect the public, as evidenced by the statistics that show that modern medicine is a leading cause of disability and death wherever it is practiced.
Licensing not only damages the doctor-patient relationship. It gives patients a false idea about the competence of the doctor and hospital. It also stops doctors who want to innovate, and it protects outdated and often toxic or dangerous therapies and tests. There are alternatives to licensing that would make doctors far more responsible to their patients.
Lies that one often hears are that unlicensed practitioners are “unregulated”. This is not true at all. Unlicensed practitioners are subject to all the criminal laws in society such as fraud, negligence and malpractice.
Unlicensed practitioners are also regulated by the laws of the marketplace. This basically means if they don’t help people, they will be out of business quickly. The same cannot be said of many licensed people. Many hold their position because of their license, not because of their level of competence and how well they satisfy their patients.
Another lie is that medical boards are “unbiased” and have consumer input. This is never true, in my experience. They are mainly made up of the very professionals they are supposed to regulate. They have clear conflicts of interest and the public is not the main priority.
The licensing system in medical care will not change, however, unless more people understand the problems with licensing, which I have touched upon.
Holistic and alternative practitioners have the same problems as those above if they are licensed. For much more information about licensing, see the article entitled The Case Against Medical Licensing.
PRIORITY #2. HIPAA (in the United States). HIPAA stands for the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This law is supposed to protect the privacy of your medical records. In fact, it does the exact opposite! It destroys the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship, which use to be sacred.
It forces doctors to share patients’ records with up to 45 government agencies! This has a devastating effect upon the doctor-patient relationship, perhaps the worst of all the problems in this article. It is nothing but government snooping, is thoroughly unconstitutional and needs to be repealed.
For more on this topic, please read HIPAA, The Medical Privacy Scam, on this website.
Many licensed holistic and naturopathic doctors are subject to HIPAA, as well. Unlicensed practitioners are not subject to it.
PRIORITY #3. MALPRACTICE ATTORNEYS
Your doctor’s next priority is often to satisfy his attorney, and/or attorneys that work for hospitals, laboratories, clinics and other places your doctor may work.
The attorneys’ first and often only concern is to avoid lawsuits against the doctors. So they suggest a number of steps that doctors often obey, and if they doctor works at a hospital or clinic or lab they must obey or be fired.
This is called defensive medicine. This is “politically correct“ medical care, and not done in the interest of the patient. It may involve:
a. Running unnecessary tests to satisfy lawyers rather than for the patient’s good.
b. Doing unnecessary procedures and surgeries to satisfy attorneys, not patients.
c. Lying to patients if the attorneys suggest or demand it. The lies are of two kinds, at least: 1) Medical lies. He or she may withhold or change medical information to protect himself from a lawsuit. The doctor may say, “you may have cancer”, when he knows fairly surely that you do not, but he does not want to say this just in case. He may also say “You need chemotherapy and radiation”, when he knows you most likely do not need it.
The other type of lie is to withhold the fact that he is acting to satisfy his attorney, and not from his own judgment or intuition. At least if he said, “I would not do surgery, but my attorney insists that I suggest it, anyway”, this would not be so bad, but doctors do not do this.
d. Giving unnecessary treatments just to satisfy attorneys.
e. All this can add greatly to the cost of medical care.
f. All of the above also adds stress and fear for patients, plus the toxicity and possible adverse effects, including death, from all the unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments.
This is a legal protection racket, to be blunt. It greatly increases medical costs and subjects you to tests and even operations that can be unnecessary and dangerous. You may be placed on a medication, for example, just so that no lawyer could even claim the doctor “failed to treat” a problem, even if the doctor really does not believe you need the drug.
This is so prevalent it is taken for granted in our medical system. People are often guinea pigs for tests, drugs and even operations that are hardly needed, or should be used as a last resort. Hospitals are by far the worst places where defensive medicine is used.
Holistic and alternative practitioners have less of these problems because their methods are safer, and sometimes because they charge less money.
PRIORITY #4. INSURANCE COMPANIES, BOTH PRIVATE AND GOVERNMENT
Another common priority and loyalty of your doctor, hospital or other medical facility are insurers, both government and private. There is a way around this, which is to pay cash. Most people, however, don’t know this or are stuck with some kind of insurance from work or the government.
Insurance often dictates which tests will be run, which drugs will be used, and which procedures are done. Those healing methods, remedies and procedures that are not covered by insurance are often simply ignored, I am sorry to say. The doctor would rather not face the embarrassment of telling you that there are other options, but your insurance won’t cover them.
For example, if insurance will not pay for your doctor to discuss your diet or lifestyle, this is often overlooked because there would be no reimbursement for it for the doctor or hospital. If, by chance, your doctor recommends a method or even a drug that is not covered, he is afraid you will be angry with him and go elsewhere. After all, who wants to pay out of pocket if one has already paid for insurance or is on the government dole, as they call it in Great Britain?
A very good doctor may bring up alternative methods that are not covered by insurance. However, he or she may be censured or lose their job for doing so.
Once again, you are not the main focus. Instead, your friendly doctor follows a set of guidelines set up often far away by people who know you only as a numbered statistic in their insurance calculations.
Holistic and alternative practitioners do not have these problems if they do not accept insurance. If they do accept insurance payments, they the same issues and problems tend to occur.
PRIORITY #5. COMPLYING WITH HUNDREDS OF GOVERNMENT RULES AND REGULATIONS
Hospitals, doctors and even labs have high overhead costs, many of which are related to complying with hundreds of government regulations, environmental controls, reporting requirements for the government, HIPPA rules and much more that has little or nothing at all to do with your health and healing. This is true, even if you don’t believe it or agree with it.
As with defensive medicine and satisfying licencing boards, complying with various hospital or office rules and regulations can result in a less honest and direct doctor-patient relationship, which always translates to poorer medical care.
Holistic and alternative practitioners have less of these problems, in many cases, especially if they are unlicensed, and therefore less regulated by the government.
PRIORITY #6. BRIBES, ALSO CALLED “INCENTIVES”
Doctors, hospitals, and even laboratories are often given incentives, which are really bribes, to use particular drugs, particular procedures, and particular medical devices. Drug makers are required to report how much they spend on “advertising” or “promotion”. It is an enormous amount of money, at least $10,000 annually per doctor.
Drug manufacturers, or the government, offers these bribes to promote new or cheaper drugs, or to promote certain operations and devices, and to get doctors used to “the system”, as they call it, whereby doctors are the tools of the drug makers and device makers. This is a sad fact about modern conventional medical care, even if you choose not to believe it.
I have read account after account of doctors being paid hundreds of dollars to prescribe one brand or one particular type of drug. They will never tell you this, but it is true. Once again, it is bad medicine, it damages the doctor-patient relationship, and almost always adds more cost to disease care. It happens with both private and government-run health care systems around the world.
Holistic and alternative practitioners have less of these problems because they are less targeted by drug companies. They may be targeted by other special interests, however, such as supplement companies, but the “bribes” are usually not as much.
PRIORITY #7. DOCTORS ARE VICTIMS OF PHONY STUDIES
This problem is particularly sad. It is well known. and has been written about, that over 50% of the medical studies written today are not unbiased, poor quality and some are outright phony.
Many studies are paid for by drug companies or government employees who desire certain outcomes. There are literally dozens of ways to alter statistics, ignore your own findings, draw opposite conclusions from your findings, cherry pick your study subjects to create a particular outcome, or rig the study so it shows what you want it to show.
Drug companies, device makers, and others regularly hire doctors to run false and phony “medical studies” to prove falsely that a product, drug or device or procedure is worthwhile, when it is not.
Your doctor reads these “studies” in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA and other supposedly first rate medical journals. Even the editors of these journal complain about this problem. However, drug ads support the journal, so the problem continues. You end up receiving the drug or procedure that should never have been suggested or permitted by law.
Most doctors do not have the time or ability to really check this research. Some also are not aware of the amount of fraud and phoniness that goes on in this area. Once again, you are the loser.
Holistic and alternative practitioners have less of these problems, in most cases, because the studies the holistic doctors and other practitioners read are usually not run by drug companies, and tend to be of somewhat higher integrity.
PRIORITY #8. ARROGANCE
Dealing with arrogance on the part of doctors, nurses and others in the medical profession is another hazard. Once again, it is not for your benefit.
Causes for health provider arrogance include:
1. Licensing. This turns doctors, nurses and others into a “privileged class”, both in their eyes and in the eyes of the public.
2. A concocted doctor shortage. This is created intentionally by limiting the number of doctors who are trained in most nations.
It gives those doctors who are in practice an inflated sense of their own importance, and may enable them to earn more money and have more power than they deserve. Workers in many other professions such as electricians, car mechanics and others are kept in check by competition, but not doctors, in most cases.
3. Media hype about the wonders of modern medicine. This is sadly a lie, if you look at the statistics. People are sicker than ever, costs are rising, new diseases are appearing such as autism, and the system is extremely dangerous for your health.
However, most of the public buys the propaganda and defers and bows down to their doctor, and this tempts doctors to become quite arrogant.
4. Mystical terminology that only doctors understand leads to or is a form of arrogance. Examples are essential hypertension, which just means we don’t the cause. Idiopathic disease also just means we don’t know the cause. Intrinsic asthma just means the cause is from inside the body (but we don’t know the cause).
5. Earning too much money, in some cases, can lead to an inflated sense of one’s self worth.
6. Working in hospitals with beautiful machinery can lead to arrogance.
Holistic and alternative practitioners have the same possible problems with arrogance, in my experience.
PRIORITY #9. IN SOME CASES. RESPONDING TO ADS AND NEWS FLASHES
Shameless advertising by drug companies and medical device makers is everywhere. Also, the medical cartel issues exciting “press releases” at least monthly about the latest new drug or operation. Many of these announcements amount to little more than advertising. The truth is that most new drugs that are announced are later found to have serious side effects. Many never make it to the marketplace, and of those that do make it, many are withdrawn from the market within a few years after killing thousands of people. This is the truth about drug medicine, even if you don’t believe it.
The goal of all this is to cause patients to call on doctors and demand the latest drug, operation or other item shown on television. Sadly, most doctors go along and try the drug on the patient. This is because they know that if they say it is a waste of money, or it is toxic, or it is new and untried, or they haven’t studied it enough, the patient may just find a new doctor who will give him the advertised drug.
The doctor excuses his lax attitude by figuring that it is probably safe, so why not give it a try. If it were unsafe, the FDA would not have approved it, right? WRONG! This is another integrity issue with doctors and the FDA that, once again, can severely impact your health.
If possible, I would avoid most new drugs until they have been proven safe for at least 10 years. Even that is not long enough for some of them, as the problems take time to identify clearly in many instances.
At times, we learn that the drug company knew about the problem from their early rat studies. This is a story about the lack of integrity of many pharmaceutical companies today.
For example, a recent news headline was that Paxil, a commonly used anti-depressant, causes an eight-fold increase in suicide among teenagers and increased violence. The manufacturer knew about this problem for 15 years and didn’t tell anyone. They are now under investigation and it will take another few years to get the drug off the market. It will, however, be just in time for the drug patent to expire, and then the drug company is much less interested in Paxil anyway because the price will come down as generic drug makers are able to copy drugs that are off patent.
Sadly, this is how some large drug companies routinely operate. One must understand this.
This is not intended to be a blanket attack on all drugs and all drug companies. However, too often profits and patents drive the industry. The doctors are in the dark and act simply as the “pushers” who do the bidding of the large drug companies and their friends who work for the FDA.
Once again, your interests are too often shoved aside in place of financial and other motives of advertisers and other “third parties”.
I suggest avoiding most drugs because they are not needed if one follows a development program.
Holistic and alternative practitioners usually have less media-related problems, simply because there is less interest in the media about their work. It is possible, however, that these doctors also may respond to news flashes and fads instead of having your best interests in mind.
PRIORITY #10. FINANCIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
This is a potential problem among all professionals, licensed and unlicensed, in all fields, whether they work a private health care system or a government-run system. Therefore, I will not dwell on it much. However, it is something to always keep in mind. Hospitals, in particular, have large overhead costs and must keep their beds full to make money or make ends meet, so they have an incentive to recommend drugs, surgeries and other procedures that benefit them. You must keep this fact in mind.
Government-run health care systems can be worse. Here the doctors are not paid very much. Their only recourse if they want to make more money, is to see more patients and do more surgeries or procedures. So the idea that turning health care over to the government will solve the problem of financial conflicts of interest is false!
Doctors, in particular, are prone to financial conflicts of interest for several reasons today. These are:
a) Many doctors go deeply into debt to pay for the very high costs of college and medical education. Some enter medical practice with up to $300,000.00 in student loans. These have to be paid. So the doctor is greatly tempted to run more tests, do more procedures, or overcharge for services to help pay off student loans.
b) Paperwork. Today doctors in America, in particular, but elsewhere, too, are greatly burdened by more and more paperwork such as reporting to the government, submitting insurance claims, and more. This takes their time, and they are not reimbursed for this time. The only answer is to get more money from the patients.
c) Frustration. Doctors in America, and some elsewhere, are used to being a highly paid profession. Many entered medicine for that reason. Some of these doctors figure they are owed a great living, so they cheat a little, or do other things to increase their income.
d) Arrogance. This is discussed above, but it tends to worsen the problem of financial self-interest.
When I have described my nutritional approach to some medical colleagues, they listen thoughtfully. Those willing to confide sometimes say that it sounds good, but it would be bad for business. What would happen to their repeat business, they ask? I tell them there are plenty of ill people who need this work.
A hundred years ago, medical care was given for very little money, and most doctors were not rich. Medicine was considered among the most honored professions. A large income was not the doctor’s priority. This has changed, unfortunately, in too many cases.
You, the consumer of health care, must be aware of this when you work with those in the medical system.
Holistic and alternative practitioners can certainly have financial conflicts of interest. Please be careful in your dealings with them in this area, as well.
Many doctors, in interviews, have told reporters and others that they would never undergo the drug or other therapy they prescribe for their patients. Why do they keep recommending them for others?
Because they are essentially forced to do so by licensing boards, insurers, legal authorities, government regulations, the demands of “business as usual”, and perhaps the censure of their colleagues. All of these priorities of doctors are unrelated your patient care.
Let the consumer beware applies to medical care more than ever for this reason. Once you thoroughly understand this, you will become a far better medical consumer. To check the safety of your hospital, go to HealthGrades Web site.
My advice to people who complain about doctors and hospitals is to follow a nutritional balancing program and, in most cases, you will not need them very much. Live wisely and safely.