Improving the Quality of Health
Not to take
away from the seriousness of HIV, but it is time to let go of the
by Bradford McIntyre
How we view disease, along with the constant
bombardment of fear associated with HIV is cause for alarm. We must
educate ourselves, those in the medical profession and our future
doctors to address a broader understanding and treatment of disease.
The fear and terror associated with HIV and the fact that the medical
profession continues to contribute to fear is the first thing we
need to overcome! Studies with healthy animals show that when subjected
to constant fear and stress they surrender the will to live. Countless
deaths of individuals infected with HIV can be attributed to fear.
Telling people they are going to progress to disease and die, just
because they have been infected with HIV is not true! Yet, these
are the messages continually expressed by many in the medical profession.
Even with the latest drug treatments and decline
in deaths, many in the medical profession still convey information
to patients in a way that promotes fear. Patients are not recommended
to take HIV drug treatments, but patients are told to take the drugs
or they will progress to disease and die. Physicians should give
test results and recommendations for possible interventions and
treatments and should extend support without this negative dialogue.
My concern is that many doctors often provide no hope!
In 1985, I was told by an AIDS specialist to
go home, inform my family, arrange my finances and funeral and that
I had six months to live! Large numbers of individuals have been
given this inhumane death sentence and this continues today! No
one should be told he or she has six months to live! Many may give
up and not pursue healthy initiatives since the situation was conveyed
with less than a hopeful dialogue. Unfortunately, this does not
occur just with HIV, but with many physicians who treat all types
of illness. This negative dialogue has seriously impacted upon many
Is it ethical in the diagnosis of disease, to
give patients a probable life expectancy? Patients are given negative
messaging by the medical profession and told they have six months
to live or told there is nothing more that can be done! Health professionals
should teach patients to take responsibility for their health and
not to be victims! Physicians should assist patients to live! It
is important to recognize an individual's willpower. Many
patients are told that they will die and do! Many others discover
through their will and through the rediscovery of the purpose for
being, the ability to live! Often, they live for much longer periods
of time than predicted!
Individuals involved in first aid, paramedics,
doctors and nurses in emergency rooms and hospitals, they all know
first hand the importance to be calm and give patients confidence,
avoiding panic and fear! This is equally important in a physician's
office and what physicians have been taught and trained to do! It
is extremely important for physicians to convey test results and
possible treatments accurately and without personal opinions, sarcasm,
ridicule and fear tactics! Conveying all available treatments and
means to provide help in a supportive and positive way!
When relaying information, doctors must presume
that the patient does not have any previous knowledge of their problem.
Explanations of test results or treatments should be given in a
supportive tone, non-threatening, non-fatalistic and non-judgmental.
The language and voice used to convey information is very important
and a part of what we call a 'bedside manner'. Relaying
information to a patient ensuring they understand as much as possible!
NOT placing limitations on a patient's life! Making individuals
aware of how much control they have over their lives. Consider to
what extent information may undermine health and lack of purpose,
as well as affecting or undermining other areas of a person's life.
Many health professionals do nothing to eliminate stress and contribute
to that stress in avoidable ways.
There are many people who are very much in touch
with their bodies and know what is going on in their body. The medical
profession can recognize this, rather than dismissing it entirely
and relying only on medical knowledge and resources.
Ron Rosenes, a Board Member of the Canadian
Treatment Action Council says, "One of the hallmarks of western
or allopathic medicine is the belief, proven with microscopes in
the 19th Century, that germs cause disease and that killing germs
or in this case HIV virus, is the best way to restore health. CAM
practices generally strive to promote healing by viewing the individual
as a part of a larger framework that includes body, mind, spirit
Many people who are in touch with their bodies
have incorporated nutrition, exercise, controlling stress, herbal
and dietary supplements, homeopathy and naturopathy, meditation,
visualization and making plans for the future. All of which contributed
to their well-being. Recognition of this by the medical profession
is lacking. It has been my experience and that of others that insufficient
attention is given to the patient who is aware of his or her health
and body. When a patient includes alternative therapies in conjunction
with medical resources, frequently physicians ignore anything other
than the medical resources!
Dr. Jon Kaiser says, "Many physicians have
little faith in the body's ability to heal and that is why they
promote reliance on drugs."
I was told the virus would kill me. Repeatedly,
this is expressed to others and me, during discussions with physicians.
Patients come out of doctors' offices and AIDS clinics teary eyed,
faced with fear conveyed by physicians! However, I do not feel this
is proper dialogue. This kind of dialogue does conjure up fear in
most individuals, affecting them psychologically as well as physically.
AIDS patients do not have to be hopeless, helpless and passive in
the face of the illness!
We need to find better ways for providing
health care and improving the quality of life for people living
with serious disease. We can recognize the influence that our thoughts
and emotions have on our health and the importance of holistic therapies
that nourish all aspects of being. Positive thinking, nutrition,
exercise, supplements and spiritual resources, all contribute to
wellness and a longer life span. All this, we should be able to
discuss with health professionals, allowing for a peace of mind
and a quality of life not given by time allotted diagnosis. I realize
the difficulty in making change. However, I do believe we can all
work together in order to educate, ensuring proper information and
awareness. I am committed to doing everything I can in order to
copyright © Bradford McIntyre