Sunday, July 29, 2012

Doing Our Due Diligence in Health Care: Introduction

      Starting with this post, I want to begin to discuss my views on health care.  At this point, I am not going to get into the politics of health care by discussing how our nation ought to pay for it, or how I think the people who make the laws about health care should consult more often the people who actually work in health care.  I may address those issues down the road.  For now, I want to look at how we balance the use of all our medical advances, technology, and medicine, with what we know is healthful for the body, even if it means more low-tech methods and natural remedies. 

      I want to make it clear that I am not like the stereotypes of natural-health people, militantly only eating organic and/or vegan, not vaccinating their children, questioning any use of prescription medications, using home remedies, etc. [By the way, please do not be offended if you feel that I just described you; notice the use of “stereotype”?  I’m not making a statement on my opinion of any of these things.]  I hesitate to put myself in a category at all near the kind of person many consider obnoxious or preachy.  My husband called me an “integrationalist”.  Not the actual dictionary definition of the word, regarding racial integration as opposed to segregation, but in terms of my views on medicine and health care.

      I am both a nurse and a patient, due to my fibromyalgia, so I try to look at everything medical from both perspectives.  Because I went through nursing school, I have the background in medical lingo and research to understand the language of research studies and to know the importance of evidence-based medical practice.  Everything we do in nursing should be evidence-based (most all of it is), and medicine as a whole needs to be held to the same standards.  For the most part, I know it is, but there are some parts of medicine in which I believe we overstep our bounds as health care providers, and some practices for which we do not have sufficient evidence to use routinely and consider safe.  As you can imagine, this is a huge subject, but today I will start by discussing items relating to just one area of medicine: obstetrics. 

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