Thursday, November 21, 2013

First, Do No Harm

Hippocrates issued this often-repeated mantra for the medical profession. Unfortunately, with the side effects of medications and the complications of surgery, modern medicine often pays minimal attention to this important guideline. An article in the AMA journal goes one step further and advocates screening for financial harm. Patients without insurance are often shocked by huge medical bills, sometimes way out of proportion for the benefit gained. One of the leading causes of bankruptcy is medical bills for people who have insurance! Generally speaking, complementary and alternative medicine is much less expensive than conventional treatment, and it is often very successful. Be a mindful consumer. Choose wisely, and ask for the cost ahead of time. It will probably take you a while to get the cost, especially if a hospital is involved, but it is your right to know what you are getting yourself into. Moriates C and associates, JAMA, August 14, 2013, p. 577-8. Celebration of Health Association website

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