Medical News Reporting Today – It’s So Last Century

Written by Jill Chapin. Posted in Opinion

Published on June 25, 2010 with No Comments

By Jill Chapin

June 25, 2010

Several years ago, I was visiting Chicago in the midst of a hellfire-like heat wave. It was so bad that people were dying of heat stroke and were warned to stay indoors and keep their windows closed.

One evening, curious to see just how hot it was outside, I opened a window and was greeted with a deliciously cool breeze wafting in from the lake. It was so delightful that we turned off the air conditioner, just as we heard a local news anchor about to expound on the ongoing killer heat outside.

Assuming those at the station hadn’t had an opportunity to open their own windows, I called them to report this fortunate turn of events. Their response? The dangerous heat was their lead-in and they’re sticking with it.

This mentality seems to pervade most news stories, none more tenaciously than those covering our medical treatment. Wherever we seek updated information on other paths to wellness, we are instead force fed what those in the media stubbornly feel appropriate to serve us.

An example is a recent LA Times article reporting that doctors have no well-defined methods for getting rid of less desirable bacteria in our gastrointestinal tracts. Yet a little research would have led their reporters to chiropractors and kinesiologists who are indeed doing just this. After first testing stool and saliva to identify what is needed to optimize the intestinal environment, they eliminate the less desirable bacteria and restore beneficial ones by using vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs. The side effects of this treatment? None, except a return to good health.

If I followed you into your doctors’ offices, I would undoubtedly hear them patronize your concerns with boilerplate responses to your complaints of aches and pains as being normal as we get older. This is true, but it’s also true that normal doesn’t mean inevitable, it doesn’t mean that we can’t reverse or lessen the effects of aging. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we should take our medical doctors’ pronouncements as the final word on managing our health.

We are not being well served by the media when they report as though we don’t need to be made aware of other medical treatment options, such as by Doctors of Osteopathy. Both D.Os and M.D.s complete four years of basic medical education, obtain graduate medical education through internships, residencies and fellowships lasting three to eight years. These aren’t snake oil salesmen; D.O.s and M.D.s must pass comparable examinations to obtain state licenses and both practice in accredited and licensed health care facilities

So what’s the difference then between a Medical Doctor and a Doctor of Osteopathy? Like chiropractors and kinesiologists, D.O.s are trained to examine, diagnose and treat the body as a whole, rather than treating a single illness or symptom. Whereas a dermatologist might treat a skin ailment with a cream, these other treatment alternatives might find your skin ailment to be caused by an underlying condition that, when treated, would then also cure the rash.

Yet our news sources seem to ignore the very real medical advantages of these very effective practitioners, offering us instead establishment edicts that are so yesterday. How many times have you seen an interview given to a chiropractor or a kinesiologist? Why aren’t D.O.s used as medical correspondents on major news outlets?

As newspapers and networks increasingly report as though we’re incapable of critical thinking, it’s no wonder that more of us are turning to Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert and Bill Maher for a different kind of information-gathering. They may be funny or controversial, but there is raw truth to their comedic musings. Until major news outlets begin to better respect their viewers’ capacity for enlightenment, this trend will continue until all news is viewed as little more than infotainment.

Winston Churchill once said that you can always count on Americans to do the right thing, once they’ve tried everything else. I only hope that we all wise up before it’s too late to repair the damages done to our bodies if we continue to shut out other healthcare professionals simply because those in the media shut them out of our news.

Jill Chapin

Jill Chapin has been a guest writer and columnist in several Los Angeles area papers for over fifteen years. She has written a bilingual parenting book titled, "If You Have Kids, Then Be a Parent!" and a children's book entitled, "My Magic Bubble."

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