Wednesday, October 23, 2013

If you are really, really sick you need to hire a doctor to hire your doctor

    Internet blogger Steve Sailer occasionally creates national talking points by writing things that mustn't be written. Others then repackage his views and either repeat them in gussied-up form or else denounce his ideas without referencing exactly what they are denouncing.
    For example, he opined in 2005 that the difference between Red States and Blue States was that in Red States "Affordable Family Formation" was possible. In other words, in Red States it was generally possible to get married, have children, buy a house, and send children to public school. He Googled the phrase and found not a single instance of this phrase having ever been used in the history of the Internet. Google it today and you will get 44,300 hits.
    He's written a few posts over the years about being cured of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1997. The most recent item was in response to a New York Times opinion piece which pointed out the fact that people need to take control of their medical treatment, because doctors do get things wrong.
    I'll cut to the chase. Sailer's advice to anyone suffering a serious illness is this: Hire a doctor to hire your doctor. In 1996 he hired an oncologist as a consultant to choose between three different doctors with three different treatment proposals. Because of this he was one of the first people in the country -- if not the first -- to use a new drug that has been found since then to be highly effective. He credits his decision with saving his life.
    A personal example: A few years ago my father got a call from one of his doctors telling him that they had his blood tests and that his potassium levels were dangerously high (high potassium can cause a heart attack). They told him not to eat any bananas, tomatoes, or other foods high in potassium and to come in first thing Monday morning (it was late Friday). That was it.
    When I heard this I immediately did a web search on all of his medicines and found that an alpha blocker he was taking for blood pressure was associated with high potassium levels. His blood pressure problem wasn't all that serious, so I had him discontinue the alpha blocker until his consultation, at which time the doctor ordered it dropped as well.
    I didn't do anything the nurse couldn't have done better. But if I hadn't done it then it simply wouldn't have been done.
    Two years ago I wrote about a simple genetic test that most of us have already taken that could save your life. The test to answer the question, "How does dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM) make you feel?" I don't know of any doctor who asks that question. As a result, these doctors are mis-treating three to seven percent of their patients, risking potentially fatal consequences.
    When it comes to medicine, your health and life demand that you do some research on your own. And if you are really sick, hire a doctor to hire your doctor!

1 comment:

Steve Sailer said...


When my father was 89, he was hospitalized for a failing heart rate. It dropped down to 27. The doctors were ready to cut him open for a pacemaker. I kept asking questions about this and that. Finally, I asked what effect the blood pressure reduction medicine he was on would have on his heartbeat. The doctor realized it depressed his heartbeat and stopped it. The next day my father checked himself out of the hospital and enjoyed 5 more years of life, with improved health than when he was on the medicine.