Seriously, this is a question I am asking that I do not know the answer to.  Recently there was a big deal made out of a study that purported half of the information on Dr. Oz’s show is either wrong or lacks scientific evidence.

Dr. Oz has a very popular TV show that does have a lot of viewers so I get him being a target and do not mind Oz being held accountable for the content of his show; especially if he is making unsubstantiated claims of “miracle” cures that viewers believe.

Keep in mind, I am a proponent of complimentary and alternative medicine, and I view western medicine (all medicine actually) with a healthy dose of skepticism.  However, it is one thing to put forth information that gives people an alternative and something to think about or look into further, and it is another to prey on their weakness, fear, dreams, etc, and lead them to an as yet unproven conclusion.

What I do not want to see is the Oz situation used to “debunk” or place too big of a stain on alternatives that challenge the mainstream.  There are times and situations where I have been comfortable with and benefited from treatments that have yet to be proven by science and or offer anecdotal evidence at best. But that was my choice to evaluate the information and put it to use. Honest information is all people can ask for.

Having said that I find the disproportionate and selective scorn aimed at Dr. Oz, and the alternative field, important to point out. Not that we should hold the Dr. Oz’s of the world less accountable but that we should hold everyone equally accountable.

In fact, given that one of medicines most important creeds is, “do no harm”, one would think there would be a correlation between that which causes harm and the efforts to point it out, stop it, and or correct it.

Harm being a thing to be avoided is why I asked and want to know how many people have died from watching the Oz show because there are other harms going on in America that do not get enough attention from congress, the traditional and social media, or get quite the glee from the scientific community that Oz and his miracle diet herbs do when shown they do not work or are not backed by science.

Yes it appears Dr. Oz likely needs to be reined in, but consider the below:

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  • Prescription Drug Deaths Keep Rising: CDC“Deaths from prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin nearly quadrupled between 1999 and 2011, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
  • List of largest pharmaceutical settlements: “Glaxo’s $3 billion settlement included the largest civil, False Claims Act settlement on record,and Pfizer’s $2.3 billion settlement including a record-breaking $1.3 billion criminal fine.”

When you click on the pharmaceutical settlement link, notice the false claims listed as the alleged legal violation leading to the settlement.  Sound familiar? Perhaps some think that these settlements are proof that the government is doing a good job?  Meh, these fees amount to pennies for drug companies that factor these losses in as the cost of doing business.

Am I finished?  Nope:

  • Misdiagnosed Cancer Not Uncommon: “Mistakes can occur on any biopsy, but especially tissue from the skin, prostate, breast and female reproductive tract.”  “Misjudging how fast or how far the cancer had spread could dramatically affect a patient’s care.”
  • In U.S., hospital-acquired infections run rampant“The first report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is based on a 2011 survey of 183 hospitals in 10 states. In that year alone, there were approximately 721,800 infections in 648,000 patients. Around 75,000 of these patients died that year as a result of a health care-associated infection.”

And lastly, there should be special layer of hell reserved for doctors like this man:

Do we think he is the only doctor in the country doing this?

The first thought that comes to my mind after reading the above is, why are we talking about Dr. Oz again?

I don’t mean to make light of the brew haha against Oz.  Again, the point is not let him off the hook. Rather that we have much, MUCH, bigger issues to focus on and get angry about, and do something about, than Dr. Oz. The difference in the degree of harm from the above links compared to Dr. Oz (and other alternative outlets)is immeasurable… and so to should the attention, effort and action, be to stop and or correct them.

If nothing else my dear reader, with all sincerity, regardless of whose advice you seek, especially for all serious conditions, if time and situation permit, please get a second opinion and research any hospital you are considering being treated for.  Points of interest are for their record of medical errors and success.

Doctors and healers of all stripes have at least one thing in common with the rest of us… They’re not perfect.


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