Good Medicine?


I think I have written about my old friend from the student house in the Netherlands. She is 29 years old and has a rare, aggressive metastatic (in English: has spread) cancer of the adrenals.

Unfortunately, chemotherapy has not worked against the cancer.

It would appear that she is now seeing a quack. She posted the motto of the treatment centre in the status part of facebook. I cut and pasted it into google, and found a “centre for advanced medicine” in North Carolina (she is from Kansas I think). She has moved into an apartment near the place.

The person in charge is actually a medical doctor, but has all these “fellowships” from colleges which look like medical colleges which are not actually medical colleges. He is into herbs and chelation and claims cures for things ranging from cancer to autism. He is anti-vaccination. He cures the incurable. He has been extensively investigated by the North Carolina medical board. His website celebrates the fat that he was acquitted.

I had a bit of a think on it.

This girl will in all likelihood die soon. She has probably sold her house. She puts a lot of hope into her treatments.

I hope that they are making her feel better, give her some solace. I do resent the fact that she has to bankrupt herself for treatment that will likely be ineffective in curing her disease. She has a husband and a 2 year old, they will find it tough financially.

However, I realise that, in the US, conventional medical treatment also bankrupts people.

It all takes advantage of people who are suffering, in the name of a profit. I am aggressively in favour of universal medical care.

Complementary medicine has its place – indeed many medicines are based on plant chemicals. I have seen a Naturopath (out of sheer morbid curiosity) and what she said was medically quite feasible, though mostly good common sense.

The practitioners masquerade as scientists, though most of the time a year 12 biology student could poke large holes in the science.

Some of it is a little predatory, too. Curing the incurable for $$$$$.

What does everyone think.

4 responses »

  1. That is very sad!

    I think we are so lucky to live in Australia. Whilst there is no doubt our governments could do a better job funding our health care system, we are just so much better off than a very high percentage of the world.

    I think when someone is as sick as your friend, any thing that she thinks is helping, or has faith in must help her at least mentally, but I too think that it is a shame she has to bankrupt herself to have access to it.

    When we found out Adrienne had breast cancer we obviously sought conventional medical treatments, and were very lucky these were successful, but I have to own up to doing a fair bit of personal research and reading on alternative treatments too. Fortunately didn’t need them, but would have tried them if we did.

  2. I was just reading an American friends’ new book in which she describes having to spend thousands of dollars on a MRI. I had an MRI last year and didn’t have to pay a penny and the wait wasn’t that long either. I know the NHS has its flaws and limitations but like Andrew said re the Australian system, it’s a helluva lot better than most places.

    Re the complimetary stuff, I am sure if I was in her situation facing death I’d probably be trying everything. But the dodgy unqualified quacks praying on people’s desperation, that is just plain wrong.

  3. I feel very sorry for her and her family. But I think I would probably do the same or top myself – one or the other. It means she still has hope and hasn’t given up yet. Some comfort for her and her family and maybe prolong her life – once some feel they have no hope, they die very quickly. So very sad.

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