Taking Back Our Souls
Michael D. Thomas, D.C.
Healthcare. Today, this word harkens images of the body politic more
than the personal in these times of economic “bottom line” decisions. We
think of governmental legislation and HMO’s and insurance companies and
premiums and deductibles. It hardly seems to be about taking care of our
personal health at all. Profit has combined with fear; fear of pain, and
fear of death, to form a trillion dollar industrial complex. Like Las
Vegas, we feel a nearly irresistible pull to participate. Like Las
Vegas, the odds are against us. Insurance companies make massive profits
from premiums and investments. By capitalizing on fear of pain and
death, this industry has carefully taught most of us to pay large sums of
money to them in hopes of protection. Obviously, they take in much more
than they give back or the massive profits wouldn’t be there. More
insidiously, care becomes funneled into “approved” methods. When I talk
about possible alternatives with my patients, they frequently remark,
“Oh, my insurance doesn’t cover that.” We are now seeing the results of
the people of our nation giving their health over to financial
corporations. Healthcare has become alienating and dehumanizing, cruel
and unjust, expensive and simply unavailable to too many. What can a
The first thing to do is to take back what is ours. Medicine gradually
became so complex that we have had to literally give our bodies over to
the doctors. We can’t comprehend the care so we must rely on faith. We
don’t ask too many questions so we don’t anger the doctor. And, we
submit to what is ordered. All too often, it doesn’t go as planned.
Many people die of disease and illness but all too many are dying from
the practice of medicine itself. Iatrogenic (doctor caused) illness
kills 150,000 people a year in this country. It’s just one of the dirty
little secrets of medicine. Automobile accidents only kill about 45,000
people each year. Handguns kill 10,000. A recent study in Lancet showed
significant errors in hospital care over 45% of the time. Every day in
the hospital increases by 6% the likelihood of a mistake which will
prolong the stay. What is going on?
Medicine has, in some ways, been extremely successful. Traumatic injury
and life threatening infection, are two conditions that modern medicine
has dealt with in ways that cannot be disputed. When symptoms must be
suppressed or diseased tissue removed, medicine can intervene in
sophisticated ways never dreamt of before.
The flaws in medical thought have become more clear as medicine has
pushed itself to extremes. It is the exclusive use of rational logic
that exposes medicine’s vulnerable underbelly. We are not machines made
of meat. We cannot be dissected into pieces, each part examined to the
molecular level, and then be directly understood as whole organisms.
Medicine believes that the pieces can be individually controlled then the
whole is controlled, and that this control equals health. Many medicines
are now understood at the level of receptor chemistry. When a receptor
site on a molecule can be inhibited or facilitated, it would seem that
the ultimate in control has been obtained. And this is what medicines
do. Unfortunately, we have a trillion molecules and truly innumerable
metabolic pathways all of which interact with each other. The level of
complexity is beyond rational analysis. We are non-linear equations and
answers are only statistically true. A given drug will produce a bell
curve distribution of responses with most in the middle, but many at the
edges. A clinician works with one person at a time and in the individual
case, only one response will be received, and it can lie anywhere along
this bell curve of distribution. There is little comfort in statistical
probability if you are the one who suffers adverse effects. These are
referred to as “side-effects”.
The picture we have of the human being as meat machine is relatively new.
There is an older picture that humanity has worked from for many
millennia. In this picture, our individuality is primary. We are spirit
made manifest into matter.