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Tuesday 29 May 2018

WARNING. 80% of older hospital patients discharged with the wrong drugs

The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (reference 2018; doi: 10.1111/bcp.13607; and doi: 10.1111/bcp.13613) has published a study by the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland that has found that around 4 out of 5 older patients are being discharged from hospital with 'inappropriate' medication, such as the wrong drug. Not unsurprisingly they say that it is causing a life-changing reactions, and even death.

This has been reported in the magazine "What Doctors Don't Tell You", which should become a must-read magazine for anyone who wishes to maintain good health. They say that these prescribing errors are often responsible for the death of an elderly patient, and for those who are not killed suffer serious reactions requiring at least a further three hospital admissions before they recover.

  • Around half of older patients die after they were given a wrong drug or weren't given the drug they needed, say researchers at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland.
  • They analysed the records of 259 patients—with an average age of 77—who had been discharged from hospital. They were given a total of 2,411 medications, which means many had nine or more prescriptions, and 59% were given 'inappropriate medications', such as a wrong drug, and nearly 70 per cent weren't given the drug they were supposed to have.
  • Over the following 40 months, around half had died, and the rest had been readmitted to hospital at least twice.
WDDTY states that this shocking problem is far worse than any other research had suggested, and refers to another study in which researchers found that 1 in 3 older people suffered a serious reaction to a drug after being discharged from hospital.

The new study involved 1,280 people, and the researchers said that the cost to the UK's NHS is £396m a year, with 90% of that figure being related to hospital readmissions.

More research is now reporting a similar pattern, with GP's being urged to be 'vigilant' as a new study from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School revealed that between September 2013 and November 2015, one in six older adults "suffers preventable medication-related harm following hospital discharge". It found that within 8 weeks of discharge, 75% of patients who experienced drug-related harm needed more healthcare. The researchers estimated that such harm costs the NHS £396m every year, with more than 90% of this attributed to hospital readmission. This was reported in the doctor's e-magazine Pulse, and published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

The discussion in the Pulse article focused on improving the follow-up and discharge procedures from hospital. The mainstream British media has been silent. No-where has there been discussion that the NHS is operating a dangerous form of medicine which almost inevitably harms patients. The Pulse article does say that the research finding follows a think tank report found that emergency re-admissions within 30 days of leaving hospital had risen by a fifth in the last seven years. Nowhere was there any recognition that conventional medicine, dominated by pharmaceutical drugs, was causing these costs, and that these were contributing to the NHS's funding crisis.


Thursday 10 May 2018

THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF PATIENTS. Is it even an important issue for conventional medicine?

The German car company, BMW, has recalled 312,000 cars because of safety concerns. The cars may be affected by an electrical fault which can cause the engine to cut out completely whilst on the road. Alex Neill, of the magazine Which? has said the recall raised “serious questions about the adequacy of the car recall system in this country” as the issue had been raised a year earlier but only 36,000 were recalled.

               “Drivers will be asking why it took so long for BMW to fully recall these potentially dangerous cars in the UK, several years later than recalls around the same fault in a number of other countries.”

It is good to know that in this sphere, as in most other spheres of life, our concern about health and safety is considered to be sufficiently important to ensure that if there is any suspicion of danger that action is required to be taken.

Yet there is one area of our life, health care and treatment, where 'health and safety' concerns are NOT considered to be so important.

Antibiotic Drugs. These drugs, so long considered a miracle drug, and used routinely with millions of patients, are now implicated in causing all kinds of conditions emanating from the gut, including obesity, diarrhoea, iIrritable bowl disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, non-hodgkin's lymphoma, liver damage, diabetes, asthma, eczema, heart disease, breast cancer, mental disorders, and much else.

Statin Drugs. These frequently prescribed drugs have been implicated in causing death, liver dysfunction, kidney failure, diabetes, cataracts, muscle weakness and dementia. Yet they have never been withdrawn or banned, and they are prescribed to, and taken by millions of patients every day.

Painkillers. These commonplace drugs are known to cause the hospitalisation of millions every year, they can cause hearing loss, cardiovascular problems and heart failure, gastrointestinal disease, miscarriage, allergic reactions, and much more. Even doctors are reluctant to prescribe them now, in all the many form painkilling drugs now take, but they continue to be sold openly and cheaply 'over-the-counter' in any pharmacy and supermarket.

Benzodiazepine Drugs. The long-term dangers of these drugs has been known for decades but they still continue to be prescribed by doctors. The side effects include sleep disturbances, rebound insomnia, elevated anxiety, panic attacks, vision problems, tremors, seizures, psychosis and hallucination - yet nothing has ever done about them.

What all these pharmaceutical drugs have in common is that, despite their known dangers to patients, nothing is ever done to protect us from them. There is plentiful evidence of harm, but no action ever follows. The same can be said of antidepressant drugs, beta blocker drugs, steroids, and virtually any other kind of pharmaceutical drug and vaccine that is still sold to the public.

So whilst BMW might be facing justifiable criticism, the pharmaceutical drugs industry does not. Whilst motorists might feel they are being protected by health and safety laws and procedures, patients cannot feel they are being protected by medical science, or the drug regulation agencies. When it concerns our health, apparently, our health and safety does not appear to be important!

The precautionary principle is just not applied to conventional medicine, and to pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines in particular. Many pharmaceuticals are eventually withdrawn or banned but not until they have been harming patients, often for many decades.

  • When there are suspicions that a drug is causing harm we are told that there is no proof (usually because no-one has ever bothered to investigate and find the necessary proof).
  • When studies begin to prove that a drug is causing harm the research is either ignored, or it is said that the link is not 'causal', or that anyway "the benefits outweigh the advantages".
  • Only when there is irrefutable proof of a link between a drug and patient harm are prescribing restrictions imposed on doctors.
  • Only when this irrefutable proof continues, when patients become reluctant to take the drug, and so it becomes less profitable for the drug companies, is the drug withdrawn or banned.
So let's apply this to BMW drivers. Your car might be dangerous to drive, but there is no 'definite proof' that there is a fault with the car. When several other BMW drivers have the same fault the risk is considered slight, or restricted just to a handful of cars, and in any case the benefits of driving a BMW outweighs the disadvantages. When a BMW catches fire, and people are killed (one man has apparently died in the USA) there may be some minor restrictions imposed, for instance on when, where and how the car is driven, but it is still considered acceptable the BMW drivers take the known risks involved. Only when there are LOTS of cars affected, only when LOTS of BMW drivers complain, only when LOTS MORE people are harmed and killed, only when there is a danger that BMW drivers might refuse to buy another BMW car, is any action taken.

This is not acceptable, is it? So why should it be acceptable for patients taking pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines?

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Keeping Healthy Naturally with Safe and Effective Medicine. My 'eureka' moment

Readers of this blog often ask me how I became interested in safe medicine, and why I have dismissed conventional medicine as too dangerous to use. Read about my 'Eureka' moment!

When I developed painful gastric ulcers, now over 40 years ago, I went to my GP. It was the normal, the routine thing to do. We all do it, still. It is what is expected of us. I was in pain, and the first drug I was given did not work at all, beyond some momentary relief. Then I saw a young doctor who gave me a new 'miracle' pharmaceutical drug which he said offered the prospect of a 'wonder' cure. Indeed, the drug did work. In fact it worked 3 times! Each time the ulcers calmed down for a few weeks, but the pain returned again within just a few weeks.

I was offered another course, indeed, it was suggested that I might have to take them on a long-term (life-time) basis. Fortunately, it was then that I discovered that this new 'miracle' drug caused serious 'adverse reactions' - to the heart. So for the first time I began to question what I was doing. All I knew, at the time, was that I did not want to swop a bad stomach for a bad heart!

My choice seemed to be between taking this 'wonder' drug, and risking its side effects, or putting up with pain which, at times, was quite unbearable. My doctor, and the NHS, gave me no advice about any other medical therapies. There was, they said (as they always say), no alternative!

So when I was in a lot of pain someone suggested that I consulted a local homeopath I told her that I did not believe in such things! I was that ignorant! But the pain just got worse, and as I was unwilling to take the drug I eventually went to see him. He questioned me for about an hour, then gave me a remedy. I took it, within a few days I felt better. Within 3 months I was pain-free. And I have remained pain free now for over 30 years, with no need to take a remedy! My stomach was cured, and remains so. And more importantly my heart is good too, I have suffered no side effects from either the remedy, or the drug!

The conventional medical establishment routinely dismiss such an experience as 'anecdotal',  or 'unscientific'. Yet homeopathy has performed these cures for millions of people, safely and effectively, and throughout the world, for the last 220 years, most of whom have found homeopath to be both effective and safe in treating illness. Still, conventional doctors tell us that there is 'no evidence' that homeopathy works! It is nothing more than a placebo effect! Only pharmaceutical drugs have an 'evidence base'.

So for me, and for many others over the years, this event becomes a 'Eureka' moment - initially for two reasons.

1. Conventional medicine does not tell patients the truth
First, I realised that my doctors was not telling me the truth, or at least, not the whole truth. The NHS, and the conventional doctors who treated me, did not tell me about the side effects of their new 'wonder' drug. They allowed me to take it without informing me about the damage it might do to my heart.

Nor did they tell me the whole truth. They did not offer me alternative treatment. They did not provide me with information about alternative treatments, linked to diet and lifestyle changes. They did not mention that there were therapies, such as homeopathy, that might treat my ulcers. And they certainly did not offer me access to homeopathic treatment, or any other form of traditional therapy. I had an ulcer. They gave me a drug. I took the drug. I discovered the side effects of the drug alone. Conventional medicine had told me nothing!

From that day I could no longer accept what doctors, and the conventional medical establishment, have told me. I have always felt the need to ask questions about the safety and effectiveness of the medicine we are routinely offered.

2. Making sense of ill-health
Second, I began to study homeopathy, informally at first. It was fascinating. Suddenly I began to make sense of the world of health and disease in a way I had never done before. Disease was not something that struck people down, indiscriminately, for no reason. I had gastric ulcers because of my stress-full lifestyle, because of what I was eating, how I was eating it, and because I never took the time to allow my body to relax and recover from the stress I was putting it through.

What my homeopath said made sense. The remedy would help, the ulcers would probably heal, but in the longer-term it was important that I should help myself by changing my lifestyle.

I began to understand the concept of 'susceptibility' and 'pre-disposition' to disease. It explained much, for instance, that whilst medieval plagues killed many thousands of people, not everyone died, many survived. They were not susceptible. Yet sickness and disease was increasing to epidemic proportions all around me. Not everyone was affected, but it was not a question of good or bad luck, people became ill for a reason, just as other people remained well.

It was an amazing moment. The clarity of this new understanding, and the new insights it gave me into health, was empowering. I began to see through the 'battleground' that conventional medicine had created with its toxic drugs and vaccines, their war against the body, and the bacteria and viruses that normally live peacefully alongside us. I began to question the desperate attacks on childhood diseases, the invasive vaccinations, the aggressive drugs that 'fought' this, and 'destroyed' that.

Conventional medicine seemed to believe that it could 'balance' the human body better with its drugs and vaccines than our own internal self-healing mechanisms! What arrogance was this? Did the doctors really know best? Did their drugs and vaccines really provide us with the miraculous answer to disease? So my personal experience helped me recognise the arrogance of the conventional medical establishment.

Through homeopathy I was able to understand the body's relationship with the world in which it lived, microbes and all! I could see how, in contrast to  conventional medicine, homeopathy sought to enhance the body's ability to maintain and regain good health by living peaceably alongside them. It taught me to trust the amazing ability of the human body to protect itself from harm, and to heal itself from whatever dis-ease it suffered.

I began to understand how the medical warfare that conventional medicine engaged in with the human body, to get it to comply with the 'norms' they had of it, was not only doomed to failure - it was both unnecessary and positively harmful to our health. So not only did I reject pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, I began to understand why they were so obviously wrong, harmful, so self-evidently counter-productive to health. I began to examine what was happening to the health of people within my family, amongst my friends and work colleagues, and I did so not through the eyes of conventional medicine, but through my new understanding. Those who were taking drugs, or being vaccinated, seem to be sicker than those who did not take them.

For instance,when I managed a group of residential homes, I saw older people taking a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs, and not getting better, but progressively more sick. Worse, older residents on some pharmaceutical drugs seemed to lose their interest and involvement in life, in the world around them. So many of them lost not only their physical health, but their mind too. They became forgetful, confused, then demented. And then they died.

Of course, doctors put all this down to old age. Conventional medicine always does when it fails to treat disease successfully. But I was convinced that the pharmaceutical drugs they were taking were playing an important part in their decline and death.

So my world changed. What had seemed normal and acceptable was no longer so. What I had been told was effective was clearly not effective. What I thought was safe was not safe. It was happening all around me. Sick people, given pharmaceutical drugs to make them better, became sicker. And my alternative ideas on health, and ill-health, seemed to fit and explain much better than conventional medicine what was happening to our health. I was beginning to make sense of the world.

So, in a nutshell, this experience is the basis of this blog. We need to ask questions of our doctors (and our homeopaths) and see who seems to be interpreting the world, and what is happening to our health, more accurately. And who had treatments that actually worked!

MEDICAL ERRORS. Are they bankrupting the UK's National Health Service? Or are we wrong to blame the doctors?

                "Victims of NHS blunders should receive smaller compensation payouts or the “staggering” costs of Britain’s negligence bills will bankrupt the health service, the Justice Secretary has been told. Health service leaders have written to the Government, calling for cuts to payments for patients who suffer devastating injuries as a result of medical errors."

Sometimes I read a news bulletin on health and I cannot believe what I am reading! So I have to re-read it in order to decide whether I have got it right first time. The Daily Telegraph recently published a series of articles on 'medical blunders' and the cost to the NHS in Britain. (If you live outside Britain, continue reading - this applies to any health service anywhere in the world which is dominated by conventional medicine).

So why is it being suggested that victims of medical blunders receive less compensation when they suffer 'devastating injuries'? It is, according to this Telegraph article (1st February 2018), because it is bankrupting the NHS.

               "The controversial demand follows years of rising negligence payments, with current liability now at £65bn - a rise from £29 billion in 2014/15."

This is an extraordinary figure. The total cost of the NHS each year is currently in the region of £110 to £120 billion, so these compensation charges now represents 50% of the NHS's annual budget, and this is all money that has to be taken out of the health budget, and so is not available for spending on patient treatment and care. So what is the solution being offered?

  1. The NHS is calling for a change in the way compensation bills are calculated under the existing law.
  2. This will mean that patients who have sustained 'devastating injuries' will receive less money.
On the following day the Telegraph published an article by Peter Walsh, "Cutting compensation for those maimed by the NHS would be 'hideously unfair' " which stated that the previous article "is a stark reminder of how desperate our NHS is for more investment". Stark indeed, perhaps even desperate, with such a prodigious rise over the last 3 years.

               "It is ignorant and uncaring to suggest that people who have been harmed or have lost loved ones as a result of NHS negligence should forfeit the compensation they need."

               "We also need to remember that avoidable harm, in fact negligent harm has been caused to these patients and the sum awarded to them is based on an assessment of their actual needs as approved by the courts. It is not some kind of windfall."

Yet even this misses the real point. Conventional medicine causes harm because it is, it always has been, and it always will be AN INHERENTLY DANGEROUS FORM OF MEDICAL TREATMENT. 
  • Pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, on which conventional medicine is totally dependent, are dangerous, even when they are properly prescribed.
  • They are also largely ineffective, and this leads to the need for other inherently dangerous interventions, such as surgery (most surgery would be unnecessary if the drug).
Walsh goes on to outline the reasons for the NHS approaching bankruptcy, and he comes out with the usual culprits - an ageing population - cuts to social care budgets - staff shortages - and lifestyle factors.

Not a single word about the fact that it is the conventional medical system that has produced this level of patient harm and injury.

This is typical of the failure of the mainstream media to do their job -  to investigate and identify where the problems actually exist in health provision. And whilst journalists are content merely to parrot conventional medical mantras (that older people and patient life styles are to blame) there is no chance that the real reason underlying our health problem will ever be identified.

It is also typical of the pharmaceutical industry, the underlying cause of most, if not all the mayhem being caused to patients within the British NHS. They want to be protected from any blame, and the cost of putting right the damage they have cause to patients. 
  • In the USA the pharmaceutical industry is protected from prosecution for vaccine damage by the Federal Government.
  • In Britain, the pharmaceutical industry is protected from paying compensation to its victims by the NHS, via the central government.
It is the failure of conventional medicine that we are witnessing here, but which national governments and the ineffectual mainstream media are refusing to recognise. 

We now need to recognise that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are not only (i) ineffective and (ii) dangerous for patients, they are also (iii) extraordinarily expensive.