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A devastating critique of modern medicine

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

From the British Medical Journal, reviewing and summarizing a new book, “the most devastating critique of modern medicine since Ivan Illich in Medical Nemesis in 1975”:

O’Mahony cites Illich and argues that many of his warnings of the medicalisation of life and death; runaway costs; ever declining value; patients reduced to consumers; growing empires of doctors, other health workers, and researchers; and the industrialisation of healthcare have come true. There is a widespread feeling that medicine has lost its way, and Can Medicine Be Cured? The Corruption of Medicine, which has been published this month, describes the loss.

I see myself as a critic of and skeptic about both alternative and mainstream medicine. This book is an exploration of all the chief reasons why, most of which concern economic problems and institutionalization (not the foundation of medical science, which remains sound in principle). Nobody is getting this right. Medicine is screwing up seriously, and most “alternative” medicine is just a pathetic and delusional Band-Aid on that gaping wound. So can medicine be cured?

[O'Mahony] is pessimistic about the profession’s capacity for reform. “Leadership” has become the standard solution to reform of medicine and healthcare, and he goes along with the idea—but says the leadership must not be “limp-wristed virtue signalling,” and he cannot see where it will come from. “Too many have a vested interest in unreformed medicine continuing.”

Maybe Atul Gawande can provide some of that good leadership? He’s certainly not just another CEO.

Dr. Gawande was selected to fundamentally change how healthcare is structured, paid for and provided. He was hired to disrupt the industry, to make traditional health plans obsolete, and to create a bold new future for American healthcare.

See Why Atul Gawande Will Soon Be The Most Feared CEO In Healthcare. I wonder how that’s going?

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