THE COST OF HAVING A STROKE IS HIGHWAY ROBBERY
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND and
According to PBS’s “American Experience”, Chicago’s first crime syndicate boss back in the 1800s, “King Mike” McDonald, coined the phrase, “There is a sucker born every minute.”
King Mike is a Chicagoland legend. He made his first fortune in gambling and prostitution, then went on to become a major player in developing and profiting from the famous Chicago elevated railroads. But it was his style of business that we’d like to discuss as Mike had a knack for organizing things to assure his success.
King Mike’s operation included enticing an endless stream of customers to his gigantic, four-story gambling house known as “The Store”. This casino was located close to Chicago’s famous City Hall, thus providing a convenient location for prominent politicians of the day to fraternize with Mike’s gambling customers. To make sure he could run his various business enterprises without interference, King Mike gained the cooperation of the police force, powerful politicians, and an army of what the PBS writers described as “skilled confidence men to run his rigged games.” In short, the secret of ol’ Mike’s success was the gift of knowing how to control and use the political system to his advantage.
Mike’s contempt for his fellow man, however, seeing them only as marks to be schmoozed and suckered into crooked business deals, is sadly emulated by many so-called “legitimate” business people today. Some of us in the health freedom movement see no difference between crime boss King Mike’s schmoozing with Chicago’s City Hall power elite at his girls and gambling emporium and Big Pharma and its health industry associates with their Gucci-shoe-clad armies of lobbyists schmoozing in the cloakrooms with Washington DC’s political power brokers or hiring cheerleaders as drug sales personnel to add a little sex appeal while pitching the virtues of drugs directly to doctors. [Read]. For the record, the drug and health products industry is the largest block of influence peddlers in Washington as well as the most successful.
While we do not know what kind of murder and mayhem existed in Chicago, thanks to King Mike’s reign of power, we do know the body count thanks to modern medicine’s control of the system and we also know the seamier side of how the system is actually run. Most of us in the health freedom movement are also eyewitnesses, if not direct victims, of the suffering imposed by modern medicine’s monopoly control.
News reports now disclose how most published scientific studies are false; whistleblowers in the FDA report the agency is bowing to Big Pharma at the cost of thousands of pill-takers lives; whistleblowers in the drug industry itself and even former editors of prestigious medical journals and/or faculty members of prominent medical schools now testify in Congress about their own eye witness accounts and/or write best-selling book exposés condemning the very system they work for. These prominent members of modern medicine itself are people with integrity and character and have something to lose for telling the world they can no longer go along with hiding the ills of the system under the proverbial rug.
My book, “Death by Modern Medicine,” covers some of the details of how 784,000 die every year thanks to participation in America’s system of modern medicine, and discusses a myriad of other sorry aspects of the system as well. However, it barely scratches the surface on the many ways modern medicine has failed us in its mission to heal us.
For example, how we treat strokes is just one example of why so many health freedom fighters are outraged at the way modern medicine treats the sick while it loots our pocketbooks. Each year, 700,000 Americans suffer a stroke. If they do not die on the spot, nearly 25% of them will die in a year from lack of appropriate treatment. Those 1.2 million Americans who have survived strokes now report serious disabilities that affect daily living.
In a study reported in Newsweek on March 8, 2004, the list of disabilities of patients age 65 or over, six months after they’d suffered their stroke is appalling. [Read]
suffer paralysis on one side of their body.
The cost to care for stroke victims in America, this year, alone, is $54 BILLION. The break down is as follows:
On Emedicine an article called Medical Treatment of Strokes gives us some more sobering statistics. For example, we are told that taking aspirin every day will prevent platelet aggregation (clot formation) and help prevent stroke. However, the truth is that aspirin may prevent stroke in only 3 of 100 women but does not prevent stroke at all in men. However, we also know that it causes gastrointestinal bleeding, in 8 out of 1,000 people and is sometimes fatal.
Once you get a stroke you have limited treatment options one of which is taking more aspirin. The intervention gives you a 15% risk reduction for another stroke, death or a heart attack. If the dose is too high you run the risk of GI bleeding, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss.
The article continues to describe several other antiplatelet aggregators. They may reduce risk for further stroke, death, or heart attack to the tune of 9% but the side effects escalate to diarrhea, skin rash, and agranulocytosis (a condition that wipes out your white blood cells). There is also the little matter of cost. Most of the non-aspirin antiplatelet drugs cost three to four dollars per day or $1,000 to $1,500 a year for the rest of your life.
Statin drugs are also been prescribed to stroke patients for a potential 25-30% reduction of future stroke but no guarantees. Ralph Nader's Public Citizen group that watchdogs the drug industry has major concerns about several of the most popular statin drugs so if you do use them, you may want to check Nader's information. In any case, the cost of these pills also ranges from three to four dollars a day, or $1000-$1500 per year.
Another group of drugs given by stroke patients is antihypertensives. Often the stress of a stroke will elevate blood pressure, or it may even be one of the primary causes. Taking these drugs along with an antiplatelet drug may reduce the relative risk of stroke, death, and MI by 32%. Interestingly enough, the price for many of the antihypertensives is also about three dollars a day or $1000 per year.
Then, along come the blood thinners called thrombin inhibitors. The main one is warfarin, which is the main ingredient in rat poison—it acts by causing fatal hemorrhage in rats. In humans the dosage has to be adjusted very carefully by taking regular blood tests. This drug is often necessary immediately after a stroke to prevent clot formation in the heart and to diminish the incidence of heart arrhythmias. Bleeding and bruising are the main side effects of blood thinners. This is a non-patented drug that has been around for a long time. A year’s supply may only be about $200. However, the weekly doctor’s appointments and blood tests make blood thinning a highly lucrative therapy for modern medicine.
What we’ve described here is a litany of drugs that do not even pretend to treat the awful effects of stroke but merely offer a few percentage points of possibility that it won’t get worse. Even worse, the side effects of medications are cumulative in their toxicity. In other words, the more drugs you take the more your liver has to work to eliminate these poisons and often, the worse you feel. Those are the odds that most of us in the natural healing arts find intolerable.
The underlying point of this column is to bring to your attention that if you follow modern medicine's protocols in using these products, which are the only "official" treatment for stroke, your drug bill will be sky high. You now understand why everyone is so desperate to pass more laws to help the elderly pay to keep Big Pharma fat and happy.
Those of us who use and advocate natural healing arts modalities can see the lunacy of paying such outrageous prices for products that offer little true healing and at the same risking life and limb in the process. We maintain that there are a myriad of other ways to treat conditions like stroke.
If our medical system were really open to ways to treat stroke victims successfully, and not controlled by the political whims of the big bucks power brokers in Washington and elsewhere, there are several sure fire ways to alleviate the situation that cost practically nothing and that Elissa and I can attest to as eye witnesses. We have no doubt there are other ways we don’t know about that are equally successful.
When I began learning Chinese medicine, I heard stories all the time about miraculous cures. In fact, the first Western knowledge of the miracles of acupuncture came to us via a reporter, New York Times Vice President, James Reston, who was part of the first press corps that was allowed behind the red curtain in 1971 in preparation for Richard Nixon’s first visit. While touring China, Reston suffered an attack of appendicitis and needed emergency surgery. His main post op procedure to manage pain was a few thin acupuncture needles and burning herbs held close to his body (a technique called moxibustion).
Some years ago, Elissa and her husband became friends and clients of a Chinese doctor from Mainland China. This doctor had first been exposed to the power of Chinese medicine by her father who had learned the trade in the old martial arts tradition, by apprenticeship, not in medical school. When Elissa’s doctor friend was just twelve years old, her mother became paralyzed from the waist down and in just a few short months, this child saw her mother restored to complete health by her father’s use of needles, herbs, massage, and diet. Later, when she was a student in traditional Chinese medical school, Elissa’s friend began treating another member of the family who had suffered a stroke and, in just a short time, this family member was also restored to health.
During the years when Elissa and her husband enjoyed a friendship with this interesting woman, they heard many tales about the routinely successful treatment of stroke and other so-called untreatable maladies in China. Then, as if to prove her point, a new patient arrived at the doctor’s office here in America. This new patient was a middle-aged Asian gentleman who had been virtually bedridden for over 10 years completely paralyzed on one side and in the constant care of his wife who had to help him extensively with all his daily needs.
Elissa’s Chinese doctor friend treated this gentleman three times a week for eight months. Within two months he was able to get out of bed by himself and walk to the bathroom. Within four months he could walk down the street with a cane so he could attend church a block from his house. At eight months, when the treatments were finished, he got in his car, drove himself to the airport, returned to his homeland where he now teaches school and is a fully functioning human being. .
Elissa’s Chinese doctor friend saw nothing unusual in her patient’s recovery. She also thought nothing about treating a patient with multiple sclerosis who came to her in a wheelchair. In just a short time under her Chinese medical care, that person can walk again and function better than he has for most of his life.
Chinese medicine is a very low cost, no risk, and fascinating form of healing that has received very little real attention in America. Its principles of healing and understanding how the body works have no relationship to modern medicine. Many of us who are familiar with its ability to heal people, see a bright future for it, so long as it does not get strangled in Western ideas on how to provide it here in the West.
Based on the case of the Asian gentleman, our estimate for restoring a seriously paralyzed stroke victim to health, the Chinese way, is $150 a week for 32 weeks which comes to $4,800 plus herbs which probably would cost no more than a couple of hundred dollars more. Thus, the grand total would be around $5,000, little more than the cost of one or two month’s residency in a nursing home for stroke victims.
We wrote about another even cheaper example of how to recover from a stroke some weeks ago in our NewsWithViews.com article entitled, “Building Health Freedom From the Ground Up.” We talked about how our friend and fellow health freedom warrior, Dan Haley, had a stroke paralyzing his entire left side, and how he had the good sense to check himself out of the hospital against doctor’s orders, so he could get real help.
First he went to an acupuncturist who got movement back in his hand in just a few days and then he located an MD who offered hyperbaric oxygen and intravenous magnesium and other nutritional supplements. So…for less than $1,000 and five days of treatment as an outpatient, Dan is now walking, driving his car, and just came back from a trip to Brazil. You can read about the clinic that treated Dan at [Read]
I learned about the power of magnesium when writing my book “The Miracle of Magnesium”. It is not only important in lowering blood pressure, keeping the heart muscle from going into spasm, and lowering cholesterol (by the same mechanism as statin drugs) but it can help heal the damage in the brain caused by a stroke. Dan was given IV magnesium, but many people have been researching magnesium gels and magnesium oil that can be applied to the body. This method of administration can be as effective as by IV because the body doesn’t eliminate the magnesium readily. If you were to take the amount of magnesium you need for serious conditions like stroke, the laxative effect would take over and you would not have enough magnesium available in the blood and tissues to do its work. You can read more about magnesium oil at www.magnesiumforlife.com.
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are an old technology that is low cost enough that most doctors could afford to purchase one for their medical clinics. If such a treatment were readily available in every town in America, just think how many billions of dollars could be saved, by restoring health to tens of thousands of stroke victims, instead of condemning them to wasted lives locked into bodies that don’t work.
If we seem harsh in our comparing the business ethics of modern medicine with one of America’s first gangsters, we mean to be harsh. People in the health freedom movement are eye witnesses to success stories like those we have just described every day and yet modern medicine runs its business is the same kind of corrupt and self-serving manipulation of our political system that King Mike McDonald learned how to do way back in his day.
As King Mike also said, “Never give a sucker an even break.” And, our question is, “When are the American people going to stand up and quit being suckers?”
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© 2005 Carolyn Dean -
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Dr. Carolyn Dean is a medical doctor, naturopathic doctor, herbalist, acupuncturist, nutritionist, as well as a powerful health activist fighting for health freedom as president of Friends of Freedom International. Dr. Dean is the author of over a dozen health books, the latest of which is "Death By Modern Medicine".
Elissa Meininger, is Vice President of Friends of Freedom International and co-founder of the Health Freedom Action Network, a grassroots citizens' political action group. She is also a health freedom political analyst and can be heard on the natural health radio show SuperHealth, broadcast weekly on station WKY (SuperTalk AM 930) in Oklahoma City.
Big Pharma and its health industry associates with their Gucci-shoe-clad armies of lobbyists schmoozing in the cloakrooms with Washington DC’s political power brokers or hiring cheerleaders as drug sales personnel to add a little sex appeal while pitching the virtues of drugs directly to doctors.