Author: Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD ND & Trueman Tuck
Publisher: Matrix Verite, 2005, www.matrixveritew.com
Price: $ 25.99
Reviewed By: Helke Ferrie
Modern medicine is going through a civil war which is being fought over the central principles of the Hippocratic Oath: “Above all, do no harm.” Rather like the American Civil War, what is at stake here is the basic human right to one’s physical liberty and the freedom to chose one’s destiny. A civil war is rather like a family row writ large. In medicine it is the family of doctors and the row is over money and power – what else? Physicians who long ago sold out to Big Pharma’s corporate interests are at war with colleagues determined to free medical practice from this corporate corruption in research, regulatory systems, and clinical practice and insisting on the patient’s right not to be harmed.
Dr. Dean, a medical doctor, naturopath and researcher, brought together in this book the evidence that modern medicine has become, in its standard version, a death engine, not a profession dedicated to healing the sick. What makes this book so astonishing is that its sources all come from mainstream medical research. The question of whether modern medical practice might possibly do more harm than good arose formally in the mid-1990’s when the University of Toronto’s Professor Bruce Pomeranz began an investigation with the help of the data bases of the FDA. Its results were so disturbing that a great deal of further research was undertaken, involving the leading medical teaching institutions of the world.
This development is traced in this book within the context of its much older historical roots. It is divided into chapters that trace death to the patient by doctors, drug companies, the health care bureaucracy, the media and the propaganda machine serving interests unrelated to the patient’s needs, by drugs and unnecessary medical procedures, by tainted science, the cancer establishment, environmental chemicals, toxic foods such as especially refined sugar, addictions, mechanisms of denial, and by lifestyle choices that mostly aren’t choices but based on wholesale corporate fraud.
This book is a wake-up call for health professionals and patients alike, and although this is a deeply disturbing excursion into the darkest (and most prevalent) aspects of modern, standard medicine, it is also profoundly hopeful and helpful. It provides resources both for those who want to know what to do to prevent disasters for themselves and their families as well as for those who have the energy and motivation to become politically involved. It is not a book for those who wish to remain undisturbed and prefer to maintain the myth that “my doctor must know best.”
This book appeared at a crucial moment in the history of medicine. It is supported by and describes a movement in medicine that is nothing less than a fundamental soul-searching and recognition of its crimes against humanity. As this book went to press, in March of this year, the UK government published a damning report (often far stronger in its use of words than Dr. Dean’s book!) entitled “The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry” which outlined the disastrous consequences for public health and the integrity of medical science stemming from trust placed in modern drugs and corporate-sponsored research. In May PLoS Medicine (Public Library of Science – Medicine) ran an article by the former editor of the British Medical Journal entitled “Medical Journals are an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies”. PloS is the only medical journal that refuses to run ads and is freely available online; it was founded a few years ago by some 50,000 disillusioned American medical students who wish to bring medicine back to its Hippocratic principles. The leading medical journals, such as the CMAJ, JAMA, The Lancet, publicly discuss now the problems outlined in Dr. Dean’s book. Late last year, the editors of the world’s medical journals laid down new ethical principles for research and study reporting. Some medical schools, such as Macmaster and McGill in Canada have re-structured their teaching programs, starting this year, in order to renovate medicine and combat the profit principle, which in medicine is nothing less than death to the patient.
This important book is a report from the current civil war in medicine and highly recommended, especially to readers looking for evidence for their political, legal and personal battles. Activists will get the leads they need. Patients will find the resources they are hoping for. Doctors whose conscience is still in tact will find support for their own practices. Journalists stand in need of this book so they do not simply print pharmaceutical press releases as fact. Medical historians will find a wealth of useful sources and interpretations.
Helke Ferrie is a Canadian medical science writer who specializes on the politics of medicine; she runs Kos Publishing Inc, a company dedicated to books on nutritional and environmental medicine by doctors and health practitioners. Visit www.kospublishing.com.