The term “evidence based medicine” has been bandied about a lot lately. Implicit in that phrase is the idea that medical treatment can somehow be made precise and that one can control outcomes. Of course, if the treatment is misguided or harmful, then doing it precisely is senseless. Also, much of the research that leads to the evidence is now tainted by conflicts of interest and no longer reliable. Aside from that, the idea of “evidenced based medicine” fails to consider one great variable, human behavior.
My four years working in a hospital, including time in ICU, PCU and EU helped me to understand that human nature will trump science every time. In the end, it is imperfect, ego driven, emotional humans who carry out, in clinical practice, the final stage of all that research. Witness the fact that death rates in the U.S. from medical errors, hospital-acquired infections, and drug side effects have remained at about 100,000 each, despite years of research and many efforts to change it. A study last year found that outpatient errors affect one in twenty U.S. adults, or about 12 million people a year1. Another study found an error rate of 10% in medications given to patients2. A study on radiology discovered that errors labeled “failure to diagnose” were responsible for up to 54% of radiology malpractice cases3. Finally, research by John’s Hopkins University4 on surgical errors, concluded that surgeons leave foreign objects (towels, sponges etc.) inside their patients about 39 times a week. They also perform the wrong surgery or operate on the wrong body part about 20 times a week.
Healing, like life, is complex and never totally under our control. We strive to make it better and control outcomes, but that goal is often not achieved. What can we do? We can try to be present (conscious), and come to our work with an open mind, a sense of humility, and genuine respect and caring for the patient.
In this issue:
Interview: We interview Ann Jerome, President of the National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) in the U.S. The NCH was an important influence in the revival of homeopathy in the U.S.
Articles: We have excellent articles from Dr. Aparna Joshi, Katja Shuett, Ton Jansen, Dr. Joel M. Moskowitz, Dr. Devika Mehta, Steven OdesRph, DIH, Catja Marion Thum, Elaine Lewis, Elizabeth Adalian, Sue Young, Dr. Ghanshyam Kalathia and Iman Navab. We have research papers by Drs. Ruhul Amin and Biplab Chakraborty, and a synopsis of research in homeopathy from Robert Medhurst.
Cases: You’ll find very instructive cases from Ellen Kire, Helen Dalton, Tanya Artus, Dr. Muhammad Sandhu, Dr. Seyedaghanoor Sadeghi, Sarah Davison, Torako Yui and Dr. Suruchi Sodhani. Edward de Beukelaer shares a veterinary case that yielded to a rare remedy.
Book Reviews: David Johnson reviews The Lacs: A Materia Medica and Repertory by Patricia Hatherly, and David Nortman reviews Homeopathy for Diseases by Peter Chappell & Harry van der Zee.
Ask the Holistic Vet : Dr. Deva Khalsa, with 30 years experience in holistic practice, responds to your veterinary questions.
The Plant Doctors : Mark Moodie, Dr. Iftikhar Waris and Pawan Singhania answer your questions about houseplants and crops.
And more… Be sure to see the the new Tips & Secrets, Crossword Puzzle, Elaine Lewis’s Tidbits and Quiz, and the new Cartoon.
Get involved! We love to hear from you so please send your questions, comments, cases and articles to [email protected]