Health Care News & Discussion
From Alternative Medicine to Barbie Dolls
03/04/1999 3:35 PM
Robert Jaspan, MD, Riverside County Medical Association Bulletin Editor, discusses alternative medicine. He notes that alternative medicine largely ignores biologic mechanisms and relies on ancient practices which are seen as less toxic, yet more potent. He sees this as a reversion to irrational approaches to medical practice, possibly brought on by the sometimes hurried and impersonal care delivered by conventional physicians. He feels the scientific community should stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. Jaspan feels that alternative treatments should be subjected to scientific testing no less rigorous than that required for the conventional medicine.
Martin Rosten, MD, gives his “Point of View” in the San Diego Physician. As a medical student in the 30’s, he used herbs such as digitalis, thyroid extract, belladonna, etc. These have all been replaced by synthetics where the therapeutic dose can be exactly measured. When a new drug is introduced it costs millions of dollars to ensure efficacy and safety. But label the drug as a food supplement or herb and the public becomes a guinea pig with sometimes disastrous results. He states that it is time we doctors read the results of controlled experiments and enlighten the public that all is not gold that glitters. “Don’t let your patients become guinea pigs.”
Humor therapy: The latest Robin Williams movie is about the life of physician and professional clown Patch Adams. For the last two years, an entire wing of INTEGRIS Health’s Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City has been dedicated to a pilot project called the “Medical Institute for Recovery Through Humor” (MIRTH). It is a 21-bed unit designed to measure the healing power humor on patients, their families and their caregivers. “We believe the patients that laughs also lasts,” says Stanley Hupfield, INTEGRIS Health’s president and CEO.
According to a recent press release, Chiropractors are doing well. Chiropractors are seeing a marked increase in the income they receive from HMOs and PPOs, concludes a new survey conducted by the American Chiropractic Association and published in its November journal. Chiropractors in practice for more than 5 years saw their income from HMOs and PPOs nearly double between 1995 and 1997. “These figures demonstrated that managed care organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of including chiropractic services in their plans,” says ACA President Michael Pedigo.
John Astin, a post-doctoral fellow at the Stanford University Center for Research in Disease Prevention, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine his analyses of 19 surveys which found that 43% of MDs referred at least one patient to an acupuncturist and 40% sent at least one patient to a chiropractor. “We believe our survey is a wake-up call, reminding physicians that they need information so that they can make decisions about the use of complementary medicine based on scientific evidence of efficacy, rather than nonmedical criteria, such as regional economics and cultural norms,” Astin says.
Kenneth C Lane, MD, the President-Elect of the San Bernardino County Medical Society states “The Trial Lawyers Are Coming! The Trial Lawyers are Coming!” Following the decisive victory by the Democrats in the November 3rd General Elections, he expects that political payback will soon follow. After pouring $8.6 million into state-wide races, California trial lawyers will demand a return on their investment. Tolerating 16 years of divided government in Sacramento, trial lawyers have suffered multiple failures to modify MICRA, endured expanded arbitration legislation that has bypassed costly lawsuits, and have confirmed many conservative judicial appointments. Trial lawyers will expect “their” legislature to pass and “their” governor to sign laws that will significantly increase the expense of medical liability. If the entire wish list becomes law, it could add up to $500 million dollars annually to the cost of health care in California.
The Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society Bulletin points to the outstanding success of CalPac had in electing 18 of 20 state senate races and 72 of 76 state assembly races and all 44 congressional races. (Are CalPac & Trial lawyers really paying money to the same candidates?)
Los Angeles County Medical Association (LACMA) Physician reports that El Segundo toy manufacturer of Barbie Dolls, Mattel, Inc, has announced a $25 million donation to UCLA Children’s Hospital. UCLA plans to rename the hospital, upon receipt of the donation, to the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. The donation will augment existing hospital services and construction of a new facility in 2000 and accept patients 4 years later. LACMA says “That’s a lot of Barbie Dolls.”