Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Missing Piece Of The American Health Care Conversation

It's an all to often occurrence in my line of work as a hospital pharmacist to hear other healthcare professionals talking to patients about how they can treat their ailments. This almost always involves a reference to the latest procedure or newly released blockbuster drug. While some rare occasions may indeed call for such action, many do not. We have a pill for everything in this country and a high tech procedure for everything else. 

Many of the conversations I hear go a little something like this:

Patient: "How'd my cholesterol test come back?"
Nurse: "It's higher than we'd like it to be, but the doctor just ordered this drug called Lipitor for you..."

Patient: "The chest pain was almost unbearable at times doc."
Doctor: "You're going to be ok. You're actually a really good candidate for a procedure called a cardiac cath. What happens is we'll insert a stent into your coronary artery..."

Patient: "This indigestion is killing me. It's been going on for days. I can't sleep at night it's so bad."
Doctor: "I'm sorry. It has to be difficult to get any rest when your chest feels like it's on fire. There's this medication called Nexium we can try on you. It's the purple pill. You may have heard of it before. Also, I can give you a sleeping pill called Ambien..."

Patient: "So what's the verdict from my fall? Is anything broken? I'm really in a lot of pain."
Doctor: "Unfortunately, you broke your hip. You have osteoporosis which is a major contributor to this. We need to consult an orthopedic specialist to see if surgery is necessary for you. Also, there's this drug called Fosamax I'd like to start you on once you leave the hospital..."

In my opinion, we're missing the point with these conversations. In fact, we're missing the entire concept of what health is all about in the first place. Health is not a pill. It is not a surgery. It is not the latest procedure performed using some high tech device. Health is the exact opposite of these things.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell hit the nail on the head with this subject when he gave a speech in May 2012 at the TEDx East convention in New York City. He talked about what's missing in the American healthcare conversation. He talked about nutrition. More specifically, whole foods, plant-based nutrition. It's exactly what we should all be talking about. Why? Because plant-based nutrition not only prevents but REVERSES many of the chronic diseases we suffer from in our country. Finding a way to halt or reverse these diseases brings us back to what the conversation started about in the first place—Health.

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by Dustin Rudolph, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist

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  1. Love this! Health care is all about what the health care industry wants for the patient. The focus needs to back on what the patients want for themselves including preventative medicine.

  2. This is so well-stated. It must be hard to listen to these conversations all day long and not be able to interrupt.


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