‘Medical Industrial Complex’ highlights medical tests that may kill you

Posted: December 28, 2015 in Medical Industrial Complex
Tags: , , , , ,

In a chapter titled “Medical tests you may not need and procedures that may kill you” in our book MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures, we quote a Reuters  report that provides an insight into how the medical system, or machine, works.

 

MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 3)

 

An excerpt from Medical Industrial Complex  follows: 

The above-mentioned Reuters report (dated July 1, 2013) advises that one-third of people with heart disease have their cholesterol levels checked more often than guidelines recommend, and reports that research suggests such extra testing may be a waste of time and money if it doesn’t lead to improvements in patients’ health.

More about those over-the-top cholesterol-level checks later in this chapter. Meantime, that Reuters report got us thinking…

How many medical tests and hospital procedures are unnecessary?

An exhaustive search of published medical documents, mainstream media releases and medical websites reveals the answer to that question is: far, far too many.

Even the medical profession, it seems, admits many medical procedures are unnecessary or over-used; an article dated March 5, 2013 on the well-respected Scientific American site states that the routine use of 130 different medical screenings, tests and treatments are often unnecessary and should be scaled back; that’s according to 25 medical specialty organizations whose findings are reported on in the article.

The writer quotes a 2012 report by America’s Institute of Medicine, which estimated that “in 2009 some $750 billion, or about 30 percent of all health spending, was wasted on unnecessary services and other issues, such as excessive administrative costs and fraud”.

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“Fifty percent of all doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class – Hope your surgery went well!” –Simone Elkeles, bestselling author of Rules of Attraction

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Many of the services deemed unnecessary appear on lists released by Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation aimed at reducing needless medical interventions that waste money and can actually do more harm than good.

The Scientific American article reports that some of the items on the lists are familiar, giving as one example the recommendation that patients should avoid scheduling non-medically indicated labor inductions or cesarean sections before 39 weeks. It states other items are designed to reduce the use of expensive and often unnecessary imaging tests, such as early use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography scan (CT) scans for complaints that will likely go away on their own.

The report continues, “Other list items may surprise patients. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women 30 to 65 years old who are not at high risk for cervical cancer skip the annual pap smears; the research shows that conducting screenings every three years works just as well”.

Professor Virginia Moyer, chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, is quoted as saying that mammography use is responsible for around one fifth of the cases of over-diagnosis of breast cancer. “Sometimes a screening leads to a false positive, after which additional tests can expose patients to unnecessary radiation or even biopsies, which carry their own risks,” she says.

“Moyer points out that women have gotten mastectomies to treat small, nonaggressive cancers that were never going to affect them. ‘That’s a huge harm,’ she says. ‘Yet it can be difficult to convince people that it’s okay to simply live with a cancer’.”

In an article dated June 27, 2013, the Huffington Post lists four medical tests you may not need. Quoting a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it claims that 28% of primary care physicians admit to over-treating patients, including by ordering potentially unwarranted tests as a precaution against malpractice suits. “Unfortunately, excessive screening can open the door to unnecessary surgeries and medications — not to mention needless anxiety”.

The four tests Huffington Post readers are invited to reconsider (with the reporter’s abridged comments in quotes) are:

  • Electrocardiogram, or ECG, to detect heart abnormalities that can indicate cardiovascular disease – “There’s no evidence that an ECG will reduce your risk of having a heart attack, according to…the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force”.
  • Upper endoscopy to diagnose conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease – “ ‘You could be better off… trying proton pump inhibitors for four to eight weeks,’ says Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, director of clinical policy at the American College of Physicians”.
  • Imaging (MRI, CT scans) for lower back pain to pinpoint the source of your discomfort – “MRIs not only don’t improve recovery, but can increase a patient’s likelihood of having surgery as much as eightfold…(and) may increase your risk for cancer”.
  • Bone mineral density scan to screen for osteoporosis – “If the test reveals mild bone loss, you may be prescribed osteoporosis medication, even though evidence suggests it would have little effect…You could be better off…waiting until you’re 65 (before being screened)”.

T.B.C.

 

Medical Industrial Complex  is Bk #3 in The Underground Knowledge Series  and is available exclusively via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX-Suppressed-Underground-ebook/dp/B00Y8Y3TUM/

 

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