Letter contained ‘mistaken idea about both science and Western medicine’ – News and Comment – Brief Article
In her letter to the editor on March 22, Amanda Damron states that the “scientific attitude relies on the Western medical model of always ‘prescribing’ a scientific cure (either pills or surgery) for the symptoms. This is a mistaken idea about both science and Western medicine.
I and many other faculty members in the College of Health Sciences have worked with patients as an integral part of Western medicine for more than twenty years. What we do cannot be summarized as “pills or surgery.” I wonder how Ms. Damron can work alongside us and then dismiss us so readily. Does she really think that we do not offer hope or compassion or improvement in quality of life? Does she think we are cold, mean people because we practice Western-based medicine? Where does that stereotype come from?
Western medicine has been trying for years to get the average American to eat right, exercise regularly, floss, get enough sleep, stop smoking, and deal with stress. Can anyone have missed the massive public health campaigns in this regard? As for science, it is not the opposite of caring. It is simply a methodical way of looking at the world without regard to the subject that is being looked at. Western medicine has aspirations of being scientifically based, but no one would say that we have arrived yet. Health care is a work in progress.
You will find that when Western medicine has, using the scientific method, found a good solution for an illness, the alternative therapies addressing that illness disappear. For example, if you were exposed to anthrax would you scoff at mere “pills” for treatment? I think you would welcome the Cipro. For arthritis, however, we don’t have such a great solution. Physicians usually recommend a combination of pills, exercise, weight loss, and, finally, surgery. In this area, there are loads of alternative therapies. These alternative therapies will continue to thrive until scientific method finds a really good solution to arthritis. And what if one of the alternative therapies is a good solution to arthritis? Scientific method can be used to investigate it and show its effectiveness!
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