I touched on this question previously, and wanted to add some details to the query, “Why would anyone want to decline medicine?”
The NY Times published a poor review of ‘Bad Faith,’ Dr. Paul A. Offit’s book on religion and modern medicine. I have not read the book, but the review indicates that Offit touches on the anti-medicine approach, including the anti-vaccination crowd, Christian Scientists, proponents of faith healing, and even some ultra-Orthodox Jewish practices. I won’t deny that it’s great to read that someone who published a book debunking the avoidance of the modern method, failed to present a solid case. I think there are plenty of reasons to just say no.
Since a blog is a much longer conversation, perhaps this venue can add some detail and bring flavor outside the most prominent advocates of choice – where choice means declining a particular form of allopathic care.
First, the dramatic headlines:
Christian Science has drawn the ire of the media following the tragic loss of John Travolta’s son and the attention garnered by Tom Cruise’s opinionated rants against psychotherapy related to Brooke Shield’s postpartum depression. Their religion has its’ own health practitioners and they lean toward nutrition and detoxification. While these interventions are clearly holistic, they also include practices that veer into areas understood only by the faithful which I am neither privy to, nor will I attempt to describe or deride here.
The Watchtower – Jehovah’s Witnesses, are another religious group who adamantly oppose medical interventions including surgeries and blood transfusions. Prince (the pop-singer) made headlines when he opted not to have hip replacement surgery, for what he described as religious reasons. Again, this choice is his to make not mine, it’s personal and therefore none of my business – just like his decision to follow a vegan diet.
Next, the intimate details:
Celebrities attract attention, including Jenny McCarthy’s rants against vaccination, yet there are plenty of anonymous typical citizens who promote freedom. Freedom of choice proponents include Libertarians and numerous holistic health devotees. Do not make the mistake of assuming that all of these choices are based on anti-intellectualism or conspiracy theories. Freedom of choice is central to personal health care. Deleting the “personal” portion would make health care a dictatorship where sickness made us automatons who lose all of our rights to the medical hive mind.
Many of these abstinence choices are already commonplace, in professions like dentistry where patients frequently opt for ceramic fillings based on the belief that amalgam dental materials are unhealthy. Another common reason for avoiding medication is addiction – recovered addicts may choose to endure dental procedures or even outpatient surgeries without painkillers because of their personal relapse concerns. Natural childbirth is another shining example of avoidance. Others choosing an non-Western medical approach might include the patients of Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda; both systems which have thousands of years head start on the West.
I choose to skip plenty of medical options, because I just don’t need to chemically control everything in my body. It’s a counter-cultural decision that puts my body in control of its’ own health program, and its’ a concept as old as nature. – DrDIY
Maybe someone just wants to let nature take its’ course. Perhaps they read the labels – personally, I refused to take gout medications back in 2004 because of fears related to interactions with the other $5,000 worth of medications I was taking each month. Today’s prescription expense of $0, really helps me feel like I won that battle with the drug store but it didn’t happen because of compliance to the “norm.” My own resurrection came in response to a comprehensive nutritional reform…and these days, I choose to skip plenty of medical options, because I just don’t need to chemically control everything in my body. It’s a counter-cultural decision that puts my body in control of its’ own health program, and its’ a concept as old as nature.
Most of the time, the people who decline a particular allopathic treatment, actually do so because of an alternative plan. It’s really not fair to the person fighting a given issue to put all of the cards in the hands of one type of treatment without allowing the victim to participate in the decision with final authority. We know that chemotherapy kills people, and we know that drug reactions kill people, so there’s always a risk. Choosing to not take those risks might be a risk too, but whenever we’re talking about free people, the risk is owned by the individual – not a doctor, not the government, and certainly not public opinion.