Introduction of a book <<Confessions of a
Approximately 2.4 million operations
performed every year are unnecessary and cost about 12,000
hospitals, 43 percent of performed hysterectomies reviewed were
found to be unjustified.
Historically, when doctors have gone on
strike, the mortality rate has dropped.
“There are just a few of the shocking facts
presented by Dr. Robert Mendelohn in his <<Confessions of a
Medical Heretic>>. This new release of the critically acclaimed
bestseller gives readers the information needed to help make
their own medical decisions. Dr. Mendelsohn, world-famous
physician and patient advocate, was a pioneer in the movement
toward truth in the medical profession. Here he explains why
Modern Medicine’s methods are often more dangerous than the
diseases they are designed to diagnose and treat. This
provocative book covers issues from unnecessary surgery and
prescribed drugs to preventive medicine and home birth. At a
time when Americans are more concerned than ever with total
health and how to achieve it, this is a book you can’t afford to
I do not believe in Modern Medicine. I am a
medical heretic. My aim in this book is to persuade you to
become a heretic too.
I haven’t always been a medical heretic. I
once believed in Modern Medicine.
In medical school, I failed to look deeply
into a study that was going on around me, of the effects of the
hormone DES – because I believed. Who could have suspected that
twenty years later we would discover that DES causes vaginal
cancer and genital abnormalities in children born to women
receiving the drug during pregnancy?
I confess that I failed to be suspicious of
oxygen therapy for premature infants, even though the best
equipped and most advanced premature nurseries had an incidence
of partial or total blindness of around ninety percent of all
low birth weight infants. A few miles away, in a large, less
“advanced” hospital, the incidence of this condition –
retrolental fibroplasias – was less than ten percent. I asked my
professors in medical school to explain the difference. And I
believed them when they said the doctors in the poorer hospital
just didn’t know how to make the correct diagnosis.
A year or two later it was proved that the
cause of retrolental fibroplasias was the high concentrations of
oxygen administered to the premies. The affluent medical centers
had higher rates of blinding simply because they could afford
the very best nursery equipment: the most expensive and modern
plastic incubators which guaranteed that all the oxygen pumped
in reached the infant. At the poorer nurseries, however,
old-fashioned incubators were used. They looked like bathtubs
with very loose metal lids. They were so leaky looked that it
made every little difference how much oxygen was pumped in: not
enough reached the infant to blind it.
I still believed when I took part in a
scientific paper on the use of the antibiotic Terramycin in
treating respiratory conditions in premature babies. We claimed
there were no side effects. Of course there weren’t. We didn’t
wait long enough to find out that not only didn’t
Terramycin – or other antibiotic – do much good for these
infections, but that it – and other tetracycline antibiotics –
left thousands of children with yellow-green teeth and
tetracycline deposits in their bones.
And I confess that I believed in the
irradiation of tonsils, lymph nodes, and the thymus gland. I
believed my professors when they said that of course radiation
was dangerous, but that the doses we were using were absolutely
Years later – around the time we found out
that the “absolutely harmless” radiation sown a decade or two
before was now reaping a harvest of thyroid tumors – I couldn’t
help wondering when some of my former patients came back with
nodules on their thyroids: Why are you coming back to me? To
me, who did this to
you in the first place?
But I no longer believe in Modern Medicine.
I believe that despite all the super
technology and elite bedside manner that’s supposed to make you
feel about as well cared for as an astronaut on the way to moon,
the greatest danger to your health is the doctor who practices
I belied that Modern Medicine’s treatments
fro disease are seldom effective, and that they’re often more
dangerous than the diseases they’re designated to treat.
I believe the dangers are compounded by the
widespread use of dangerous procedures for non-diseases.
I believe that more than ninety percent of
Modern Medicine could disappear from the face of the earth –
doctors, hospitals, drugs, and equipment – and the effect on our
health would be immediate and beneficial.
I believe that Modern Medicine has gone too
far, by using in everyday situations extreme treatments designed
for critical conditions.
Every minute of every day Modern Medicine
goes too far, because Modern Medicine
prides itself on going
too far. A recent article, “Cleveland’s
Marvelous Medical Factory,” boasted of the Cleveland Clinic’s
accomplishments last year: 2980 open-heart operations, 1.3
million laboratory tests, 73,302 electrocardiograms, 7,770
full-body x-ray scans, 210,378 other radiologic studies, 24,348
Not one of these procedures has been proved
to have the least little bit to do with maintaining or restoring
health. And the article, which was published in the Cleveland
Clinic’s own magazine, fails to boast or even mention that any
people were helped by any of this expensive extravagance. That’s
because the product of this factory is not health at all.
So when you go to the doctor, you’re seen
not as a person who needs help with his or her health, but as a
potential market for the medical factory’s products.
If you are pregnant, you go to the doctor
and he treats you as if you’re sick. Childbirth is a nine-month
disease which must be treated, so you are sold on intravenous
fluid bags, fetal monitors, a host of drugs, the totally
unnecessary episiotomy, and – the top of the line product – the
If you make the mistake of going to the
doctor with a cold or the flu, he is liable to give you
antibiotics, which are not only powerless against colds and flu
but which leave you more likely to come down with worse
If your child is a little too peppy for his
teacher to handle, your doctor may go too far and turn him into
a drug dependent.
If your new baby goes off his or her feed
for a day and doesn’t gain weight as fast as the doctor’s manual
says, he might barrage your breastfeeding with drugs to halt the
natural process and make room in the baby’s tummy for man-made
formula, which is dangerous.
If you’re foolish enough to make that
yearly visit for a routine examination, the receptionist’s
petulance, the other patient’s cigarette smoke, or the doctor’s
presence could raise your blood pressure enough so that you
won’t go home empty-handed. Another life “saved” by
antihypertensive drugs. Another sex life down the drain, since
more impotence is caused by drug therapy than by psychological
If you are unfortunate enough to be near a
hospital when your last days on earth approach, your doctor will
make sure your $500-a-day deathbed has all the latest electronic
gear with a staff of strangers to hear your last words. But
since those strangers are paid to keep your family away from
you, you won’t have anything to say. Your last sounds will be
the electronic whistle on the cardiogram. Your relatives
will participate: they’ll pay the bill.
No wonder children are afraid of doctors.
They know! Their
instincts for real danger are uncorrupted. Fear seldom actually
disappears. Adults are afraid, too. But they can’t admit it,
even to themselves. What happens is we become afraid of
something else. We learn to fear not the doctor but what brings
us to the doctor in the first place: our body and its natural
When you fear something, you avoid it. You
ignore it. You shy away from it. You pretend it doesn’t exist.
You let someone else worry about it. This is how the doctor
takes over. We let him. We say: I don’t want to have anything to
do with this, my body and
its problems, doc. You take care of it, doc. Do what you
have to do.
So doctor does.
When doctors are criticized for not telling
their patients about the side effects of the drugs they
prescribe, they defend themselves on the grounds that the
doctor-patient relationship would suffer from such honesty. That
defense implies that the doctor-patient relationship is based on
something other than knowledge.
It’s based on faith.
We do not say we
know our doctors are
good, we say we have faith in them. We
Don’t think doctors aren’t aware of the
differences. And don’t believe for a minute that they don’t play
it for all it’s worth. Because what’s at stake is the whole ball
game, the whole ninety percent or more of Modern Medicine that
we don’t need, that, as a matter of fact, is out to kill us.
Modern Medicine can’t survive without our
faith, because Modern Medicine is neither an art nor a science.
It’s a religion.
One definition of religion identifies it as
any organized effort to deal with puzzling or mysterious things
we see going on in and around us. The
Modern Medicine heals with
the most puzzling phenomena: birth, death, and all the tricks
our bodies play on us – and we on them – in between. In
The Golden Bough, religion is defined as the attempt to gain the
favor of “powers superior to man, which are believed to direct
and control the course of nature and of human life.”
If people don’t spend billions of dollars
on the Church of Modern Medicine in order to gain favor
with the powers that direct and control human life, what do they
spend it on?
Common to all religions is the claim that
reality is not limited to or dependent upon what can be seen,
heard, felt, tasted, or smelled. You can easily test modern
medical religion on this characteristic by simply asking your
doctor why? Enough times. Why are you prescribing this drug? Why
is this operation going to do me any good? Why do I have to do
that? Why do you have to do that to me?
Just ask why? Enough times and sooner or
later you’ll reach the Chasm of Faith. Your doctor will retreat
into the fact that you have no way of knowing or understanding
all the wonders he has at his command.
Just trust me.
You’ve just had your first lesion in
medical heresy. Lesson Number Two is that if a doctor ever wants
to do something to you that you’re afraid of and you ask why?
Enough times until he says Just Trust Me, what you’re to do is
turn around and put as much distance between you and him as you
can, as fast as your condition will allow.
Unfortunately, very few people do that.
They submit. They allow their fear of the witch doctor’s mask,
the unknown spirit behind it and the mystery of what is
happening and of what will happen, to change into respectful awe
of the whole show.
But you don’t have to let the witch doctor
have his way. You can literate yourself from Modern Medicine –
and it doesn’t mean you’ll have to take chances with your
health, because there’s no more dangerous activity than walking
into a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital
unprepared. And by prepared
I don’t mean having your insurance forms filled out. I mean you
have to get in and out alive and accomplish your mission. For
that, you need appropriate tools, skills, and cunning.
The first tool you must have is knowledge
of the enemy. Once you understand Modern Medicine as a religion,
you can fight it and defend yourself much more effectively than
when you think you’re fighting an art or a science. Of course,
of Modern Medicine
never calls itself a church. You’ll never see a medical building
dedicated to the religion of medicine, always the medical
arts or medical
Modern Medicine relies on faith to survive.
All religions do. So heavily does the
of Modern Medicine
rely on faith that if everyone somehow simply forgot to believe
in it for just one day, the whole system would collapse. For how
else could any institution get people to do the things Modern
Medicine gets people to do, without inducing a profound
suspension of doubt? Would people allow themselves to be
artificially put to sleep and then cut to pieces in a process
they couldn’t have the slightest notion about – if they didn’t
have faith? Would people swallow the thousands of tons of pills
every year – again without the slightest knowledge of what these
chemicals are going to do – if they didn’t have faith?
If Modern Medicine had to validate its
procedures objectively, this book wouldn’t be necessary. That’s
why I’m going to demonstrate how Modern Medicine is not a church
you want to have faith in.
Some doctors are worried about scaring
their patients. While you’re reading this book, you are, in a
sense, my patient. I think you
should be scared.
You’re supposed to be scared when your well-being and freedom
are threatened. And you are, right now, being threatened.
If you’re ready to learn some of the
shocking things your doctor knows but won’t tell you; if you’re
ready to find out if your doctor is dangerous; if you’re ready
to learn how to protect yourself from your doctor; you should
keep reading, because that’s what this book is about.
Believe or not, you can get this book at
Citation from the book.
More than twenty years ago a survey
revealed that the reports of expert EKG (electrocardiogram)
interpreters varied by twenty percent among individuals and by
another twenty percent when the same individuals re-read the
same tracing at another time. (p3).
In one test the EKG delivered a positive
finding in only twenty-five percent of cases of proven
myocardial infarction, an equivalent finding in half, and a
totally negative finding in the rest. And in another test, more
than half of the readings taken of healthy people were grossly
About twenty percent of people with
clinically established convulsive disorders never have an
abnormal EEG (electroencephalogram)! Yet fifteen to twenty
percent of perfectly normal people have abnormal EEG. To
demonstrate the questionable reliability of the EEG as a measure
of brain activity, one researcher connected one in the standard
manner to a mannequin’s head filled with lime jello and got a
reading indicating “life”. (p4)
By far, the most pervasive and dangerous
diagnostic tool in the doctor’s office is the x-ray machine.
Unfortunately, because of its great religious significance, the
x-ray machine will be the hardest for doctors to give up. They
know that people are awed by the doctor’s power to see right
through their flesh, to gaze firsthand at what is afflicting
them, to see where they cannot. Doctors literally got drunk on
this power and started using x-ray on everthing from acne to
settling the mysteries of the developing fetus. Many
obstetricians still insist on x-rays if they don’t quite trust
their skill in determining fetal position by palpation – despite
the fact that childhood leukemia has a well-documented link with
prenatal radiation exposure.
Thyroid lesions, many of them cancerous,
are now turning up by the thousands in people who were exposed
to head, neck, and upper chest radiation twenty to thirty years
ago. Thyroid cancer can develop after an amount of radiation
that is less than produced by ten bite-wing dental ex-rays.
Scientists testifying before Congress have emphasized the
hazards of low level radiation to both the present generation
and to future generations in the form of genetic damage. They
have implicated ex-rays in the development of diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and
cataracts – all associated with aging. Other studies have
matched radiation to cancer, blood disorders, and tumors of the
central nervous system. (p5).
A survey more than thirty years ago showed
that as many as twenty-four percent of radiologists differed
with each other interpreting the same chest film, even in cases
of extensive disease. Thirty-one percent of them even disagreed
with themselves when re-reading the same film! Another study in
1955 showed that thirty-two percent of chest x-rays showing
definite abnormalities in the lungs were misdiagnosed as
negative. In 1959, thirty percent of the experts disagreed with
other experts on radiographic readings, and twenty percent
disagreed with themselves when re-reading the same films. A 1970
Harvard study showed that the going rate of disagreement among
radiologists was still at least twenty percent. (p6).
Yet x-rays are still sacred in most
doctor’s and dentist’s offices. Hundreds of thousands of women
are still lining up every year for breast x-ray, despite the
well published scientific evidence that the mammography itself
will cause more breast cancer than it will detect!
Lab tests are another part of the
diagnostic procedure that do more than harm than good. ….
Overall, erroneous results were obtained in more than a quarter
of all the lab tests. In another nationwide survey, fifty
percent of the “high standard” labs licensed for Medicare work
failed to pass. A large scale retesting of 25,000 analysis made
by 225 New Jersey labs revealed that only twenty percent of them
produced acceptable results more than ninety percent of the
time. (In other study,) thirty-one percent of a group of labs
test group incorrectly identified infectious mononucleosis at
least one third of the time. And from five to twelve percent
could be counted on to find something wrong with specimens which
were healthy! My favorite study is on in which 197 out of 200
people were “cured” of their abnormalities simply by repeating
their lab tests. (p7).
If you think these tests are shocking, keep
in mind that the Center for Disease Control monitors and
regulates fewer than ten percent of the country’s labs. So these
tests indicate the best work of the best labs. With the rest,
you pay your money and you take your chances. And you will pay
more and more, because doctors practicing “just in case
medicine” are ordering more and more laboratory tests.
One of the common dangers of going in for
an exam is that you’ll be used for purposes other than your own.
Years ago, after becoming director of an outpatient clinic I
found out that one of the routine questions asked of mothers was
“Is your child toilet trained?” everyone who was not toilet
trained by the age of four was separated out and referred for a
urological workup, which included, among other things, a
cytoscopy. All these four-year-old kids were being cytoscoped! I
immediately eliminated the question about toilet training. It
didn’t take long before I got a call from the chairman of the
urology department, who happened to be a friend of mine. He was
very angry. First he told me I had done the wrong thing
eliminating the question and , thereby, the urological workup.
He said it was important to do this kind of examination in order
to find the rare cases in which there might be something
organically wrong. Well, of course that was nonsense, because
all the rare cases can be identified by measures that are less
dangerous than a cytoscopy.
Then he told me more about what was going
on. The real problem was that I was destroying his residency
program because in order for a residency to be approved by the
accrediting authorities, the residents have to perform a certain
number of cytoscopies every year. In this case it was around
150. I was taking away his source of cytoscopies, and I got into
trouble over it.
This is true for other specialities, too.
In order to have a cardiology residency approved, the resident
must perform a minimum number – 150, 200, 500, whatever it is –
of catherizations evey year. This is a great tendency to take
people off the street and identify them as needing a cardiac
Naturally, the most sinister and dangerous
ulterior purpose you expose yourself to is the doctor’s need to
recruit patients. Without the ritual of the checkup, internists
would have trouble paying the office rent! How else can the
doctor ensure a steady supply of sacrificial victims for the
Church’s other sacraments without the examination? The Gospel
said many were called and few were chosen, but the
of Modern Medicine
has gone that one better:
All are called and most are chosen. (p10).
Annual physicals were once recommended for
such high-risk groups as industrial workers and prostitutes.
However, today many doctors recommend that everybody have at
least one a year. In the last fifty years of regular checkups,
however, not a shred of evidence has emerged to show that those
who faithfully submit live any longer or are any healthier than
those who avoid doctors.
In no uncertain terms, you’re at the
doctor’s mercy. The fact that you’re there in the first place
means you don’t know how you are or what is going on with
you and that you want
the doctor to tell you. So you’re ready to give up a precious
liberty, that of self identification. If he says you’re sick,
you’re sick. If he says you’re well, you’re well. The doctor
sets the limits of what’s normal and abnormal, what’s good and
If you could rely on the doctor’s
conception of normal and abnormal, sick or well, submitting to
him would be scary enough. But you can’t rely on it. Most
doctors are unable to recognize wellness, simply because they’re
not trained in wellness but in
As long as the doctor is in control, he can
define or manipulate the limits of health and disease any way he
choose, narrowly or broadly – depending on his intention and
interests. In this way, he can manipulate the amount of disease.
For example, he can define high blood pressure as anything above
or within the high range of normal. And he can treat it
accordingly – often with very powerful drugs. Disease can thus
be defined to encompass small or large numbers of the
population. If he measures 100 children’s height, he can state
that any child standing at either extreme—in the lowest and
highest one, two, or five percent—is “abnormal” and requires
further testing. He can set his outer limits of normal blood or
urine values or electrocardiogram readings, so that a certain
percentage of each population is labeled possibly abnormal,
requires further investigation.
If he were selling laxatives, he would tend
to define constipation in such a way as to include the great
majority of Americans, by saying that if a person doesn’t have a
good bowel movement once a day, he or she is constipated. On the
other hand, if he’s interested in the truth, he would say that
if a person has normally formed bowel movements, it doesn’t make
a difference if they have them once or twice a week. That puts
almost nobody in the “sick” category. (p12)
The doctor can define sickness even where
no sickness exists. After all, among those 100 children measured
for height, among those blood, urine, and electrocardiogram
measurements, someone has to be at the extreme high and low ends
of the scales. And there are very few people in whom a battery
of thirty or forty tests will not reveal at least one
“statistical abnormality” which can then lead to an entire
series of potentially damaging and disabling medical events.
You have to consider—and beware of – the
doctor’s self interest. Doctors almost always get more reward
and recognition for intervening than for not intervening.
They’re trained to intervene and do something rather than
observe, wait, and take the chance the patient will get better
all by himself or go to another doctor. Ass a matter of fact,
one of my key pieces of subversive advice to medical students is
this: To pass an exam, get through medical school, and retain
your sanity, always choose the most interventionist answer on a
multiple choice test and you're more likely to be right. For
example, suppose somebody says to you that the patient has a
pimple on his nose, and asks what should you do? If the first
answer is watchful expectancy, wait and see what happens for a
few days, that’s wrong reject that. But if one of the answers is
cut off his head and hook him up to a heart lung machine, then
resew all the arteries and give him twenty different antibiotics
and steroids, that answer is right. This piece of advice has
carried more of my students through various crucial
examinations, including national boards and speciality exams,
than any other lesion. (p12).