Because I’m passionate about self-governance and radical self-healing, I’m a bit of a magnet for “medical horror stories.” (I’ve even been the subject of one or two myself)
Any of us can suddenly find ourselves in a situation of needing help and not being able to get it. Or seeking out help from the sources where we have always been told we can get it, and suddenly finding out that it’s just not available.
Or it’s not available to us.
For example, here’s one plea put out by a conscious and compassionate Facebook friend:
Last week someone I know was hospitalized with a fracture. The doctors recommended surgical treatment, but he did not want it because he had had bad experiences with previous surgeries (he is disabled with a weak heart, and surgery poses a significant risk of cardiac arrest for him). So he asked if his fracture could heal without surgery.
The doctor replied that, though it would take longer, his fracture could heal without surgery. Being leery of western medicine, being concerned for his heart health, and preferring the support of his naturopath and acupuncturist, he opted to not have the surgery (thereby also opting out of the expensive and extensive battery of tests and preparations he would have to go through before having the surgery, and opting out of specialist post-surgery care and testing as well). Instead, he chose to just use pain medications and manage the healing with the support of his alternative health practitioners.
Medical staff labeled him as “refusing treatment.” Without his or his family’s consent, he was transferred to a substandard care facility, left unattended, without a post-care plan or pain medication, placed with indigent patients and in general, felt that he was being punished for his decision. And, as is the case whenever he is in the hospital, his health is getting worse.
What I want to know is, how would someone go about lodging a formal complaint about the unauthorized (and unethical) transfer to a substandard facility with inadequate care?
Or can they “punish” someone for their lifestyle choices like this? I mean, regardless of his personality, doesn’t he deserve the dignity of following the system of health care he believes in?
And then, even if we could get justice in this situation, the biggest question is, how does a person, who doesn’t want to get gobbled up by the “system” of hospitals, etc, actually GET HELP?
Dear Conscious and Compassionate Friend,
As a passionate advocate for personal governance and radical self-healing, I hear of this kind of situation all-too often. I believe that the most important thing is to get the right help and support for healing, and sometimes this is not very clear-cut. But, once you get that support for real the first time, you know what to do for yourself and others the next time this kind of situation comes up. (Which, sadly, it very likely will).
What we need to consider is how can we best get this person the care that he needs, and at the same time protect him from potential harm from what seems like such an inhumane corporate health care process. The most important factor is protection of this person’s emotional and psychological state. We must eliminate stress as much as possible.
The danger of our dominant medical system as it is is that, when you’re in pain and fear, it can be absolutely devastating to be rejected from care because of who you are as a person. It can have tremendous long term psychological effects. Being abandoned or rejected just when we are most vulnerable can, in fact, make us very, very ill.
When you are making decisions for getting the care you need, please understand that this is what you are up against:
1. The system cannot be confronted
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
The system, from the drug companies to the medical staff to the political and legal structures that are funded by and protective of it, is 100% founded on the principle that it is the one and only right way to go.
My suggestion is, do not waste energy filing a complaint. You won’t justice from the system by filing a complaint or even by a legal action, because the system believes that you are in the wrong.
Chalk it up as a learning experience, put that energy into personal support for the one who needs it, and then, if you’re still angry, help make the system obsolete by supporting others who find themselves in this type of situation.
2. The system cannot work with incompatible systems
“Gause’s Law of Competitive Exclusion: in a complex system, two species competing for the same resources cannot coexist if other system factors are constant.” ~Science Daily
The conventional medical paradigm unequivocally believes that health and illness are the respective products of anatomical perfection or the lack thereof.
Your acquaintance’s interest in health care alternatives is a literal attack and threat to the medical health care system because alternative health care systems such as naturopathy and acupuncture are founded in the belief that health and illness are natural processes in which our bodies are doing something meaningful and to our benefit. This is completely at odds with the medical model that illness means “something wrong with the body.”
In light of this fundamental conflict of interest between conventional and alternative health care, the best use of his energy is to either support alternative health care or support conventional health care …but don’t try to support both at the same time. But, since the medical system has much more legal clout, it is obliged to provide anatomical support no matter which system the patient ultimately goes with. However, since the medical system has already “lost” him as a resource (to the alternative health care industry), it will be very difficult to get support other than the legal minimum.
Having said that, it should be pretty easy to find a doctor to prescribe pain meds and other anatomical intervention as needed, even if it means going into the emergency room.
3. The system cannot be charitable
“A single bad customer can practically destroy a business,” ~Ken Gaebler, Business Insider, “How to Fire a Bad Customer”
When you begin making special demands of this system, such as making your own medical decisions and bringing in conflicting health care practitioners, you are being a “problem customer.” It is in the financial best interest of the health care process if they give the minimum legal care to those who do not represent their ideal prospect. This means, if you don’t want expensive drugs, surgery, tests, angiograms, and a theatre of support specialists to handle your special case surgery, then there is no money to be made from you. The gigantic health care industry does not have tolerances or flexibility to give attention to customers which will not provide significant profits.
(Except in an indirect way: if they do not provide minimum care as required by law, then well-informed “bad customers” like your friend could cost the system a lot of money)
Consider, also, that it’s important that busy medical staff put their attention on those that they can help, just as you and I are right to not spend our valuable time and energy on people who come at us expecting us to serve them in ways that we are not comfortable serving. We should politely say “no” to them so that we can focus on people who really can benefit from our help. The friend that you are describing – really, any of us who acts as our own health care provider – is just not a good fit for the industry and it is not fiscally appropriate for it to spend valuable resources on people like us.
So, since the money isn’t going to go into that industry anyway …put it into private, compassionate, and alternative health care.
4. The system cannot be loving
“Your body is a machine. Learn the right way to take care of it.” ~Candice Swanepoel, MD
Finally, realize that the system is built for anatomical correction of perceived problems of the body, not for care of the person. So if you go in from a vulnerable position of “please help me, my life is in your hands” you have a real chance of getting offered mechanistic and frightening treatments that may feel too harsh for your body, mind, or emotions.
However, medical experts are the experts on anatomy. Go to them for anatomical information. Get as much anatomical information from them as possible (x-rays, bloodwork results, etc). You don’t have to tell them that you are into alternative treatment and won’t be following up with their care …but, when pressured, you can say something like “Does the level of care you are offering depend on me not seeking alternative opinions?” That should make them back off.
(Another great question for this purpose, especially if you are being pressured to accept unwanted medical procedures for your child, is “In the event of an injury as a result of this optional procedure, who is legally responsible?” My experience is that this is a great conversation-ender)
Once you know the mechanics of what’s going on, seek elsewhere for the care you really want for your friend; that is, support, pain management, rehabilitation, and a soothing, compassionate hand on his forehead reminding him that life is wonderful and his body is good.
Be well.Have you got a “medical horror story?” Please comment below to share what you have learned about how to get the help you really need …without being gobbled up by the system.
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