Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dr. Oz Gets What He Deserves

This news is almost too easy to comment on:
Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," was grilled Tuesday by senators on Capitol Hill about the promotion of weight loss products on his show.
Senators grill Dr. Oz about 'miracle' weight loss claims

Yes... he is a peddler of nonsense and just pure crap. Whether he is just a "cheerleader" for his crowd (see above), or he really believes in what he preaches, is irrelevant. As a doctor, he should know better how to tell real science from woo-woo.

Do I think he really believes in all he "sells"? I dare to say, probably not, as evidenced in this short bit from his interview a while ago:

Oz sighed. “Medicine is a very religious experience,” he said. “I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean.” All facts come with a point of view. But his spin on it—that one can simply choose those which make sense, rather than data that happen to be true—was chilling. “You find the arguments that support your data,” he said, “and it’s my fact versus your fact.”
I wrote about it here...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Visiting Poland - Better Make Sure You Are Heathly

If Poland is in your vacation plans, make sure you visit your trusted doctor first, stock up on medicine and hope (dare I say, pray) that nothing happens to you, when you are there.

Why? Because faith healing seems to be gaining popularity in that country (full disclosure: I was born there and spent the first 19 years of my life there) and I would not want to be caught sick there, knowing that depending on the doctor you end up with, your therapy might be prayer.

To give you more detail, while the health care is considered to be free and widely available in Poland, the quality is lacking and the availability is restricted by long wait times (months) and extensive restrictions on residency. To top that off, recently, with a strong backing of the very powerful Catholic Church, the doctors there were asked to sign a "Declaration of Faith", which basically gives them a way out of any modern standard of care, based on their "conscience". While signing of this document was voluntary, given the pressure coming from the Church and the local communities, I suspect there will be more and more doctors, who are afraid of performing some controversial procedures, even though they are medically viable and legal under the local law.

While the majority of discussions around this topic were focusing on abortion, it also affects other reproductive rights and many "end-of-life" issues. The problem here is not with anyone's faith, conscience, or anything in between. The problem is with a very personal decision by a someone who should be following scientific knowledge and who is expected to do so in the best interest of a patient. How do we decide where that "freedom of conscience" ends for a given set of beliefs? Is it only abortion, contraception, blood transfusions, separation of men and women in health care, prolonging unnecessary treatments, or refusing some others? Where and how that thin line is drawn? Who makes that decision?

I, for sure, would not want to end up under care of someone who thinks he (or she) knows better, based on their faith and not reason and science. So, if you are going to visit Poland anytime soon, make sure your are healthy, or your best bet might just be to pray (literally).