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Hospitals and Health: Your Orthomolecular Guide to a Shorter, Safer Hospital Stay Hardcover – February 15, 2010
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"For the inside scoop, I highly recommend reading Hospitals and Health." - Dr. Joseph Mercola
"Hospitals and Health fits exactly into our philosophy of health and healing. I attribute much of my good health (at age 91) to my total avoidance not only of doctors but of hospitals. I am thoroughly interested in the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer and the dramatic results he obtained." - Charlotte Gerson
"Hospitals and Health should be read by every American before their first doctor's appointment or hospital stay." - Sue Vogan, Bookpleasures --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
I have lived a full, interesting and creative life supported by my family and many friends and irritated and spurred on by the hostile criticisms of a group of psychiatrists representing APA and NIMH. I was born on a farm in Southern Saskatchewan in 1917, completed High School in a rural school, my PhD at University of Minnesota and Medical degree at University of Toronto. By the time I got my first job I was 33 years old, had three children and was totally fed up with being a student. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was to become a psychiatrist, then the lowest branch of medicine. My wife Rose put up with these long student years while she brought up our three children. Bill became one of the worldâ€™s best antiquarian book experts. He died 6 years ago from lung cancer. John is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal a great clinician and researcher into nutrition, and Miriam is dietitian at Women College hospital in Toronto and recently published her very good book Fueling Body, Mind and Spirit. Rose died in August 2001 and since then I am alone but absorbed with my family and my work. I have the support of remarkable friends and scientists and all of us working together will eventually overhaul medicine back to its interest in nutrition and in nutrients. Since they did not know me personally I never took it personally although I must admit I would have preferred had they been supportive. I give my critics full credit for having delayed the full introduction of orthomolecular medicine into the medical world and for having denied life, health and happiness for innumerable patients. Supporters of old paradigms never realize how much damage they do by their remarkable rigidity and adherence to old theories.
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Some of the facts and statistics given in this book are shocking. It doesn't sugar-coat any of the grim facts but it also provides a lot of reason for hope and positivity in the way it describes how to improve your outcomes and empower yourself.
This book explains that:
* Corporate medicine is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the US. It kills tens of thousands of people every year. Problems include financial conflicts of interest, poor management, complacency and misinformation, a lack of focus on personal health responsibility and many others.
* It is not actually clear whether hospitals give benefit or not, overall. Emergency medicine saves many lives but it is not clear whether this and other interventions outweighs all those killed by drug side effects, drug interactions, DVTs, hospital-borne infections, and so on.
* Hospitals should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. They are dangerous places to be.
* 30% of patients that die in hospital die due to a misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis is a huge problem.
* Many doctors do not read tests or study results properly and do not understand complex statistics. This ignorance is taken advanatge of by drug comapnies to make certain drugs appear far more effective than they actually are.
* It's rational to be paranoid about corporate medicine and hospitals. Medicine based on personal bias and profit doesn't give the best outcomes. Trusting authority is not the same as supporting good science.
* Polypharmacy is dangerous. Each drug has risks of side effects and very time a new drug is added it has its own risk of side effects as well plus extra risks due to drug interactions. Drugs should be kept to a small number and minimised as much as possible. Many drugs have vitamin or mineral alternatives which are very safe, effective and inexpensive.
* Don't be talked into taking any drug to prevent a disease you don't have. Avoid statins and daily aspirin.
* Medicine has a shameful history of following authority rather than data and reason. The new term 'evidence based medicine' is misleading to say the least.
* Psychiatry is not scientific. "Psychiatrists should realise that their discipline is not scientific and would be well advised to show a little humility."
* Producing negative studies on nutrition and vitamins is very easy to do and is often done to suit the interests of certain vested interest groups such as drug companies. Studies designed to fail often use the wrong form of the nutrient, in the wrong dose, without supportive nutrients and/or with too short a follow-up time. Any treatment can be 'proved' to be ineffective if the study is set up in a certain way.
* Many doctors are ethical and caring and would not knowingly harm a patient. The problem is with the way medicine is organised and controlled.
The book outlines many problems but also spends a lot of time talking about solutions as well.
Information is included on how to negotiate with your doctor, the importance of developing a good relationship with your doctor, how much should you defer to your doctor and when should you stop trying to negotiate, what your rights are to refuse or demand a treatment, what your rights are with taking your own supplements in hospital, how to win medical arguments or at least lose less often, how much should you expect a doctor to listen to you and your own research findings, why making idle threats of legal action or backing doctors into a corner may get you worse medical care than you'd have gotten otherwise, and lots more.
Some of the most helpful information given was on how to choose a good doctor and what questions to ask before you agree to see them and pay for a consult.
The book also provides a very easy to read and follow beginners guide to orthomolecular medicine that can be used before and after surgery to speed healing, to prevent DVTs and bedsores, to treat heart disease, or to prevent illness and improve health generally. The doses recommended are up-to-date and not the too-low-to-do-much-good ones contained in many books and especially older books. The book also doesn't neglect the basic necessary nutrients in favour of discussing herbs or other non-vital products, as many books do. Taking herbs and other fancy and exotic things before making sure you have the basic necessary vitamins etc. covered is madness!
One in ten hospital deaths are due to clotting issues. A simple nutritional protocol is included which can cut the risk of DVT dramatically when taken before and after a hospital stay. It involves basic supplements such as high-dose vitamin C, fish oil, and vitamin E etc. Vitamin C at an appropriate dose can improve your changes of surviving a hospital stay significantly. 3 - 10 grams a day (preferably 10 grams) is a minimal dose and if possible a bowel tolerance dose is best. A bowel tolerance dose varies from person to person and how ill a person is; the more ill you are the more vitamin C your body needs.
This book does just focus on doctor and hospital related issues and so doesn't contain enough information on how to really get stuck into healing serious disease with orthomolecular medicine. For that one needs to read some of the other books by these authors, or others such as Linus Pauling, Dr T. Levy, Dr Sherry Rogers etc. This book also has little information on diet aside from a few general comments about avoiding junk food and sugar - and most food served in hospitals.
I'd have liked a lot more information about the huge problem of misdiagnosis and the disastrous-for-patients use of wastebasket diagnoses. But that is a personal bias I guess. These let the doctor off the hook by giving the patient a meaningless label instead of a real diagnosis and also stops anyone looking for the real cause of symptoms. Many are labelled as mentally ill or with motivational or attitude probelms or malingering when they in fact have a physical disease too. Wastebasket diagnoses have enormous benefits for medical insurance companies as well, which seems to be their main purpose. Many payouts are far smaller for 'controversial' or psychiatric diseases than they would be for the patient's correct diagnosis of a real and physical disease. Diseases caused by chemical exposures, prescription drugs and poor food quality are also conveniently hidden. It is a huge problem which affects some of our most ill and vulnerable people. It's hidden in plain sight with most people having no idea about the issue at all.
Dr Abram Hoffer is a very well respected orthomolecular pioneer and has authored many books on the topic. He died in 2009 and this was the last book he worked on. Dr Hoffer has a very long history with having to try and battle the current medical system to try and get the best outcomes for his patients. Along with the other authors, he really knows what he is talking about on this topic.
Overall this book is very good. The authors have done a great job with it and should be congratulated. It contains lots of information essential to us all. It could be really helpful for lots of people or even life-saving, especially for those not already acquainted with basic orthomolecular medicine principles.
This book advises readers to act rationally when making health decisions and to think for themselves and not trust doctors or any other medical authority, blindly. Being compliant and just doing and thinking what you're told is not the way to get your best health outcome. It is very had to argue with that!
Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)
This is an excellent book, especially if you're naive about Hospitals. I had a friend who was head of nursing at large hospital and told me much of her time was spent trying to cover up or fix all the terrible things the MDs or medications did. She said, 'God help you, even if you're an MD, and you stay at a hospital and don't have an 'advocate' there every day to make sure they don't kill you'.
You've read the other reviews, but in fact, the case against the AMA is criminal and goes far deeper than Hoffer would be allowed to admit. See 'Murder by Injection' by Eustace Mullins. Hoffer once said we would have to sue the AMA for proper care at some point.
The bottom line is MDs are the number 1 killers in the USA every year, not guns, not auto accidents, but MDs. Think about that.
I will still read the book as the topic is very important and I just paid for it. "Hospitals and Health" is just not really readable. I ought to be done over and reissued!