Time to Rethink Health Care?

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

Where to start when thinking about health? Everyday there seems to be a new twist on ways to gain the promise of better health or ways to overcome health problems – and many of these ideas seem logical, requiring only modest changes in lifestyle. But it’s easy to get hooked on a new fad, which is soon forgotten when a new idea comes knocking.

This rather undisciplined, sometimes over-diagnosed, and often costly approach to finding and maintaining health was highlighted in an article I read. It did not present a positive picture of health in the United States.

Dr. Joseph Mercola was quoted in the Global Burden of Disease study, which assessed health and disease trends in 187 countries and is said to be the “largest ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors.” This study released its rankings of the top 10 countries with the highest life expectancies and Mercola points out that the “United States did not make the cut – not even close.”

Even more alarming, an article authored by Gary Null, Caroly Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio, and Dorohy Smith describes in excruciating detail “how the modern American conventional medical system has bumbled its way to becoming the leading cause of death and injury in the United States.”

In order to improve the present medical system, many in the health care arena are pressing for the development of new roles with drug and insurance companies based upon what’s good for the individual. Along with this push, there is the idea that there must be alternatives to the present western style treatment and drug system. Dr. Robert A. Kornfeld in, “Developing a Sustainable and Functional Medical System,” makes a strong point for the inclusion of integrative medicine when he states that, “the paradigm of integrative medicine seeks to heal mechanisms rather than treat symptoms. This approach is a win/win for everyone who complies.”

According to Janice Neuman, author of, “More Doctors Going the Alternative Route,” many doctors who are schooled in traditional Western medicine are personally turning to complementary and alternative medicine to stay healthy. One recognized type of alternative is prayer and in the article, “Characteristics of Adults who use Prayer as an Alternative Therapy,” those who prayed were more satisfied with care and had more favorable health-related behaviors. Over 90.3% of those in the study believed prayer improved their health.

Taking control of our health care decisions is one way we can address the lack of quality of the health care system and lessen the risk of perpetuating unsatisfactory health care. Although the idea of taking control of health decisions is becoming more prevalent – especially through the use of prayer – it’s still not a widely accepted idea. What’s interesting is that more that 140 years ago Mary Baker Eddy, a writer on health, wrote, “Fear is the fountain of sickness, and you master fear…through [spirituality]; hence it is through [spirituality] that you overcome disease.” Is it possible that as more and more people take control of their health and demand alternative approaches to their health care treatments, clinics, hospitals, and medical schools will shift their focus to meet these demands?

Hopefully, The United States health care system will then be number one rather than 29th out of 187 nations.

Article previously published February 11, 2013 and first published in Blogcritics.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.

Comments

  1. belle says

    So grateful that Jesus’ health care plan has never changed and is ever available.

  2. Pamela says

    Wow those articles are a bit shocking, but as Belle said, thank goodness Jesus health care plan has never changed and is ever available. The U.S. has just gone into overdrive on drugs and medicine but I am so grateful that more and more doctors and some in the medical field are seeing that we need alternative methods because the old way of doing things just isn’t working very well.

    Also we need to pray about greed in the U.S. I heard to many young people saying they want to be doctors because they can make a lot of money. Since when did money have anything to do with health? You can’t buy health with money. In fact you can’t even buy happiness with money. Happiness and health come from knowing your relationship with God, divine Love.

    Thanks Don for this informative article. It gives us much to pray about.

  3. Mary Lou MacKenzie says

    I chuckled over the quote you used from Gary Null and others about our medical systems having bumbled its way to becoming the leading cause of death and injury in the U. S. Very telling.

  4. Anne Hughes says

    As I read this blog today, it made me think that what is most needed for the health of mankind is to embrace everyone in love and prayer, to pray each day for the whole world by acknowledging God’s ever-present, tangible love that leaves no one out. God is giving each of us what we need for our wellbeing, including a mind that can hear what God is telling us. Those discouraging studies of disease and the fact that many “cures” have proven to be worse than the ailments can serve as a wake-up to look in more productive directions, including prayer and inspiration.

  5. William Cheney says

    These articles that are bringing to light the facts about the American health care system are sobering and demand widespread distribution. I am grateful, Don, that you have republished this article. The article which provided statistics that substantiate the death-related medical mistakes was enlightening, to say the least. Your readers may want to know that the current AARP Bulletin has several articles that raise the issue for its millions of members: “When Medical Care Makes Things Worse” (page 4), “Nursing Home Outrage” (page 10), and “Hero Pilot’s Second Act (Sully’s New Mission” (page 10). The last article mentioned featured the pilot who safely landed his aircraft in the Hudson River. In retirement, he is bringing widespread attention to the dangers of medical mistakes. Once again, Don, thank you for providing such timely resources.

  6. Anne says

    This is an important post. Dr. Robert A. Kornfeld has written a thoughtful, clear, and accurate assessment of medicine in the US. His comments on the “status quo” spell out exactly what is wrong with a system that often harms rather than helps a patient. Dr. Kornfeld’s interest in the patient’s well-being comes right through, and his statement, “We need to open our minds and expand out of the box we have sealed ourselves into,” is enlightening.

    When those in the medical field feel this way about their profession and are willing to speak up, our country is ripe for progress.

    Thank you for sharing this doctor’s insightful thoughts.

  7. Jerry Jacoby says

    Mr. Ingwerson, I urge you to actually read your references. O’Connor, et al was written in 2005 (!) and its results do not agree with your conclusions. Specifically, “Rates of … depressive symptoms, chronic diseases, and total health care charges were not related to prayer.” Neuman’s article was written in December 2011 and prominently displayed on page 1 is an advertisement for acupuncture. Kornfeld’s article was written in June 2012, and although I agree wholeheartedly with his statements, they’re a little dated. Next, the 25-page article by Null, et al. uses data from 1990. I have actually looked at the charts in the Global Burden of Disease study, and many would claim that we’re doing a lot better in 2012 than in 1990. Finally, this whole exercise of appealing for change has been going on a very long time. I have a copy of an article from Science magazine in 1977 appealing to the health care system to change to a holistic approach to patient care–the current term is integrative medicine. And my bottom line is that your gentlemanly approach isn’t working. And it hasn’t been working for quite some time. Therefore, continuing to do what isn’t working while expecting different results is called insanity. Try something different. I personally think ‘modern medicine’ needs, metaphorically speaking, to be hit alongside the head with a baseball bat.

  8. RUBE says

    I like what Belle said. Jesus Health Plan is the best, most successful and you know what,
    the price is right.
    Your membership ID # i s Truth101
    The assigned health facility is THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
    The PCP (Primary Physician) is GOD
    The Name of the PLAN is PRAYER
    Your co-pay is GRATITUDE