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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

Medicine 2023: The State-of-the-Art?

Over the past 50+ years, the way medicine is practiced has changed greatly. When change occurs abruptly, it is jarring. but when changes occur increment by increment, the totality of change may go unnoticed, until one takes a step back to look at the whole. Whether you “like” the changes or not, or merely accept them as inevitable is entirely up to the reader.

Some of the most notable changes have been the following:

  • Technology: Drugs and devices are turned out in droves by companies seeking to fill a niche void. For sure, some innovations have changed medical outcomes in a dramatically positive way, but many have failed in their promise. The antibiotic “revolution” has sped up the emergence of resistant “superbugs” and destroyed the microbiome of many a formerly healthy patient. Medications and devices alike have been recalled due to premature approvals, leading to wide-scale medical complications and even deaths, and massive class action lawsuits. New experimental technologies have been implemented and their use is even encouraged without safety precautions to slow their introduction into use, with countless grave consequences ensuing. In short, what can be lifesaving can also be life-taking.
  • The buy-out of small practices: The idea of a personal relationship with a physician, so that he or she gets to know you well over time has become somewhat passe, and is rapidly being replaced by a corporate model, with visits to an enormous hospital-like facility, and impersonal group care.
  • Hospitalists: In the past, a hospitalized patient was visited daily by his private doctor who did their “rounds.” Now, upon hospitalization, a facility staff group takes over, having minimal if any knowledge of the patient’s prior health or life context.
  • Insurance: At its inception, this was a way to pay for one’s health needs/bills. However, reliance upon insurance coverage to pay for everything has ultimately given insurance companies the power to dictate what services we use, what tests we do, and which medications we take. Adopting a policy of “no coverage, no go” puts enormous power over our lives and our health into the hands of non-medical corporate executives. If a physician “over-orders” tests or spends more time with patients than the insurance company wishes, he or she will not be welcomed to any insurance panel.
  • Sources of medical information: A great percentage of TV commercials tell patients to ask for a particular medication. And those same companies educate professionals about their products at in-office luncheon sessions. If indeed the way to a man’s heart is his stomach, this practice is probably fairly effective.
  • Attention span: We are geared to wanting things to be done quickly. Patience is NOT the name of the game in 2023. Facebook takes too long. TikTok and Instagram are “OK”, but quicker yet would be even better. In this culture, seeking deeper, longer-lasting solutions is not easily tolerated, and “quick fixes”, albeit perhaps not complete or long-lasting, are often preferred and chosen.

Again, there are no conclusions drawn here, no judgments made. But perhaps it is useful to step back and ask ourselves: “What do we really want in our own healthcare, and are we taking the necessary steps to achieve it, even if these steps are not convenient or in the mainstream? Do we in fact want to be in the mainstream as it has evolved?” Questions, not answers.

Since her mentorship with Dr. Robert Atkins, Dr. Robin Leder has practiced functional/ holistic medicine at her solo medical office in Hackensack, creating individualized, test-based, nutritionally-focused protocols for thousands of patients. For more information: drrobinleder.com

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