I certainly didn't intend to get anyone's dander up with my last post, but it appears that I stirred the proverbial hornet's nest :).
For the record, I do not think that all doctors are evil or even bad people. I don't think that people enter into the medical profession with the intention of keeping people sick so that they can get rich. I'm sure that many people who enter the medical profession do so with a genuine desire to help.
I will say, though, that the stereotype of doctors as being "rich" is pretty prevalent in our society. In fact, when I was growing up, those young people whose parents wished them to have profitable careers encouraged medical school. How many of us have heard that stereotype of the rich doctor in our lifetimes? Be honest.
So, if that's true, if doctors are getting rich, if the medical profession is so profitable ..., but wait ...
Why is the medical profession so profitable? And why do we allow people to profit off of our illness?
A couple of people commented that we need "healers", and I don't disagree with that. There is a time and place for all things, and yes, people do get sick, but I want to point out that I said, "Most doctors ... would be out of work." Not all, by any means. We still need people who understand how the body works, be they doctors, or midwives, or herbalists, or Shamans, because, yes, sh*t happens, and it can be very ugly and very scary.
My point was that, too often, those in the medical profession behave as if they are gods, which they are not. *We*, the American public, are not simple innocent bystanders who have been duped by the medical system, however. We are just as culpable, and we often treat doctors as if they are miracle workers (instead of human beings like the rest of us), and we smoke and drink and live outrageously, believing that doctors can give us new lungs and new livers and new limbs if we mess up the ones we were born with. And if they can't? We blame them for our irresponsible behavior and stupidity.
There are two facts of life in the medical field. The first is that a pregnancy will result in a birth, not necessarily a live birth, but a birth nonetheless. The second is that people die. The only two givens in life are that we are born, and we will die. Nothing else is guaranteed.
But at the risk of causing further offense, I want to say that in my opinion there are worse things than death. Sure, we're living longer ... but at what cost? And are we happier? Are we, as a society, more fulfilled with our longer lifespans than our grandparents ... our great-grandparents ... our distant hunter-gatherer ancestors? In short, in keeping us alive longer (often with expensive drug therapies and "miracle" cures) has the medical establishment really done us any favors?
According to this blog a display at the Rueben Fleet Science Museum on San Diego showed the leading causes of death over the last century and a half as follows:
Leading causes of death in 1850:
5. Typhoid Fever
8. Scarlet Fever
10. Whooping Cough
Please note that ALL of them were from infectious diseases of which we only vaccinate against two. For the most part, these diseases were eradicted due to improved sanitation - most markedly being the availability of clean water and waste disposal.
By 1900 - fifty years later - only four of those infectious diseases were still in the top ten causes of death, and yet, vaccinations weren't widely used until the 1940s, and then, only two of the top ten killers were made into a widely used vaccine (please note that several of the others had vaccines developed, but none of those vaccines were ever widely used and in fact, use of the choloera vaccine was discouraged due to the severe side effects, and the vaccine for Scarlet Fever was discontinued, when penicillin was discovered).
Top ten causes of death in 1900 were:
4. Heart disease
6. Liver disease
9. Normal aging
Please note that half of them could be deemed as being directly related to industrialization, and the ninth most common cause of death in 1900 was normal aging. Does anyone today even die from that?
Looking at the causes of death in 2000 would certainly seem to imply that most of us do not die from "normal aging." Apparently, we have bigger problems, namely:
1. Heart disease
4. Lung disease
8. Alzheimer’s disease
9. Kidney disease
10. Blood poisoning
Please note that the top six could be considered lifestyle related (assuming the fatal accidents are via automobile).
Obviously, I offended some people with my rather terse post about how the medical system is trying to keep us sick, because wellness is not profitable, but I stand by my belief that having an overweight, sedentary, mindless, and unhealthy population is far more profitable than an energetic, thinking, healthy one. And when money is the bottom line, *we*, the people, don't matter.