In our last issue, I considered whether we should fear for the survival of chiropractic.
In our last issue, I considered whether we should fear for the survival of chiropractic. This time, I would like to address whether conventional medicine might be buckling under not only the strain of economic unsustainability but also changing public perceptions of, and expectations for, health care.
To tackle this vast question, I will refer to the documentary film Doctored, which premiered in 2012. The movie contains several examples of common medical strategies that are actually contrary to fostering good health – for instance, unindicated and/or redundant drugs or surgery or countless hours of unnecessary diagnostics – for which “consumers” are referred by medical doctors without adequate regard for the consequences to the individuals in question. The movie also discusses the resistance on the part of mainstream medicine vis-a-vis natural therapeutic options, including chiropractic and/or nutritional counselling, and the reluctance of medical doctors to refer patients to these services. These unfortunate approaches not only are unethical, but also add to our already escalating health-care costs.
If you haven’t watched the movie yet, may I suggest you do. If you have seen it, may I suggest you provide non-profit opportunities for your patients, their families and friends, and members of your community to view it also. The movie discusses issues that folks should be aware of when they are faced with making serious health-care choices – and especially when they find themselves in situations where their options seem limited or, worse, restricted. Knowledge that one has options and/or grounds to question what one is told can, in itself, be empowering. However, your purpose for providing the movie to your communities should not be to point a gun at the “medical establishment” but to educate. Awareness will result in critical thinking and this, in turn, can serve to encourage examination of current systems and strategies and lead to the evolution and growth of health care on a societal level. An informed public can serve as a catalyst to bring about many positive developments, not just in medicine, but across the health-care spectrum.
But it is important for health-care practitioners of all disciplines to recognize their responsibility to inform themselves, and one another, on best practices and then to ensure these are adhered to in ways that represent, first and foremost, the interests of patients and the public. It is also up to our caregivers to promote a culture of collaboration to support each individual’s right to autonomy in seeking, and finding, the best health-care strategy for their situation. Finally, we would hope that our health-care workers would join forces with one another, their communities and their governments to foster justice, so that people at all levels of society have equitable access to optimal care.
The answer, then, is not to line up health-care disciplines – our own or others’ – before firing squads. The solution begins with shooting down the notion that one approach or another is completely misled or superfluous and, hence, could, or should, be made to disappear. Especially now, when our global population is larger than it has ever been, and our health-care needs have become so complex, there is more than enough work to keep all the disciplines busy developing and implementing the various elements of prevention, repair and health maintenance our societies need – and there is absolutely no room to allow ourselves, or another group, to give up trying.
Bien à vous,
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