We’re nothing if not irreverent here on Boggart Blog, we have no time for the gods of established religion and no time for the modern gods of science and technology. They’re all synthetic and so have no power. On the other hand we do have quite a bit of time for the old gods of the Greek, Norse and Celtic pantheons, because they’re fun and have great stories and nobody ever really believed in them anyway (OK, I’m just padding here, Google don’t rate out posts unless they have more than 400 characters (and no links in the first 400 characters)
One of the modern gods is medicine. We’re all supposed to be in awe of doctors, they heal the sick, soothe the dying and hand out treatments to stop us getting ill, right?
“It’s supposed to be a secret, but I’ll tell you anyway. We doctors do nothing. We only help and encourage the doctor within.” Albert Schweitzer, M.D.
“He is the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines..” Benjamin Frankin
There is even a word now for illness caused by medical error, incompetence, over – prescription, wrong prescription, prescription for the benefit of corporate profit rather than patients welfare and other related deaths and illness. Oh, yes, “iatrogenic”. I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up.
In the online encyclopedia dictionary, iatrogenists is defined thus:
“iatrogenesis Literally doctor-generated, the term refers to sickness produced by medical activity. Widely recognized as a phenomenon, the debate is over its extent. The term was introduced into social science by Ivan Illich (Medical Nemesis, 1976), as part of his more general attack on industrial society and in particular its technological and bureaucratic institutions, for limiting freedom and justice and for corrupting and incapacitating individuals.”
According to Wikipedia, in the United States an estimated 225,000 deaths per year have iatrogenic causes, with only heart disease and cancer causing more deaths.
Many iatrogenic effects are clearly defined and easily recognized, such as a complication following a surgical procedure. Less obvious ones, for example continuing to prescribe drugs long after the nations no longer needed them, require significant investigation to identify, such as complex drug interactions.
So that’s our little bit of hubris for today. I’m off to watch the Grand National now. Might be back later.