Thursday, 6 March 2008

Medical Science vs Quack Science

Surgeries: Certainly one of the most unpleasant experiences a person has to undergo. Even with the advent and rapid, herculean leaps of medical science, a patient who has to undergo surgery has to contend with spending at least a couple of weeks convalescing. It is not something for the faint-hearted, as I can personally attest, having undergone a minor arthroscopic surgery myself approximately thirteen hours ago.

A minor surgery it was, and such is the marvelous technology available, I was able to get out of bed (with crutches of course), and eventually out of the hospital, barely 5 hours after surgery, and I haven't touched my painkillers since the first ones I took minutes after awaking from general anesthesia. The original, debilitating pain in the left side of my leg knee is gone, and all I have to contend with is the mere inconvenience of an on-off itch underneath my heavy bandage, plus the occasional tinge in the stitched-up parts.

And yet, despite the potential for rapid recovery and cure, I had the misfortune of being lectured by a moron who contended that quack science, not surgery, would cure my medical woes.

The Abject Ignorance of Fools

Perhaps a little description of how events transpired would give a clearer picture: Immediately after I had announced that I had to go for my operation, my Assistant Project Manager (I work as a M & E coordinator for a contractor in a 28-million dollar project) was quite dead set against it: I had no replacements, and having occupied my post until my arrival he knew that the post of coordinator was a fool's errand. He proceeded, despite my protests, to go on a half-an-hour tirade against the medical profession.

Points he made include:

1. Chinese acupuncturists, or worst, sinsehs (doctors) would have alleviated my sufferings.

2. The doctors are out to operate on me for a fast buck (Note: I was admitted to a government hospital, not a private hospital).

3. Sordid tales about his nephew who is suffering from final stage cancer, and how the removal of a considerable portion of his guts caused his nephew to suffer immensely (Not that I am suffering from cancer anyway).

4. How the operation could have repercussions on my knee.

5. And the most ridiculous of all: Going to practitioners of black magic to cast my pain away!

Of course, I proceeded to re-butt him, point for point (The doctor he recommended was the same moron who caused my mum 4 years of agonizing pain, when she finally had enough and went for a 20-min op. The chronic pain hasn't surfaced since then. Talk about pseudo-science!).

The idea of losing to a young punk of less than 30 years of age didn't go well with the elephants-sized ego of this 52-yr old moron: He began his tirade about his experience in life, and reminded me that I should listen to elders. The problem with that kind of logic is that age and experience doesn't necessarily equate to wisdom and good advice: You can clean latrines for a good century, but don't expect to make more money than a Harvard graduate!

It then occurred to me that this APM of mine had a morbid fear of doctors: He seldom, if ever, listens to doctors, throws away medicine prescribed by them (I wonder why he visits them in the first place, sounds like an oxy-moron to me!), and has never gone for a surgery despite sound advice from physicians.

While I do not wish to criticize his approach and philosophy, the fact that he behaved like a tyrant and despot, trying to force his archaic, ancient, conservative and ultimately erroneous lifestyle upon me was completely out of line.

As for me, I have a dreaded fear of needles: I hate surgery, probably more than my APM, but rationale and reason tells me that medical science is my best bet for a good, speedy recovery. There is an element of fear, but I guess it is better to face reality in the face than to run away from it. As long as the problem remains unsolved, I will still have to live my life with this stupid, handicapped knee.

With the aid of 21st century medical science, it would be downright foolish to trudge into the tiny room of a quack doctor or a deranged priest in the quest for a cure, rather than the sagely advice of the good ole Doctor. I will bet my last dollar on real Science any day, any time and anywhere.


"...if you want to do evil, science provides the most powerful weapons to do evil; but equally, if you want to do good, science puts into your hands the most powerful tools to do so."

-Richard Dawkins


5 comments:

Interested said...

How often I have been told that I should "just stay away from the doctors". It seems that going to the doctor to solve medical problem, in the eyes of some, is just asking for medical problems.

I have some serious back problems that have been treated in many orthodox and unorthodox ways over the last 20 years but eventually, I will have to have surgery. There is no magic potion to cure it but surgery is definitely my best chance for a normal life.

Good luck with your knee. My aunt had knee replacement recently and she is doing great.

BEAST said...

Thanks, interested.

I am feeling better than ever, safe for the itching and the slight twitching at the stitches.

Beast

tina FCD said...

I hope you're doing good beast.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're feeling ok after the procedure.

I can't believe your boss mentioned black magic, among his other interesting claims. Was he ranting out of pure emotion? Or do you think he really stands by those comments?

-Ted Goas
SkepticalMonkey/com
(the 'Name/URL' comment option was giving my issues)

BEAST said...

Thanks Ted.

Still alive, but the knee's still posing a few problems.

This APM of mine is an asshole, and I hardly ever listen to him....and that's always his main grouse about me anyway. Lolz.

Beast