It was announced yesterday that Rita McNeil died as a result of an infection she she acquired in hospital after surgery. She is not a rare case. (The Globe have just printed a retraction saying now that Rita McNeil did not die of a hospital sourced infection. This does not change the meat of the story that follows - that hopsitals and surgery are not safe)
Most of us think that surgery is safe and that so are hospitals. Neither is true. Especially today when hospitals have long given up being clean and have relied on drugs to keep infection at bay.
Here are the stats for Canadians.
"Hospital-acquired infections sicken 250,000 patients annually and kill between 8,000 and 12,000 Canadians. The bugs patients catch while in care are one of the leading causes of death in this country; they kill twice as many people as breast cancer."
Here is how it is for residents of California.
"One in 20 hospital patients get infections. In California, roughly 200,000 people get hospital infections annually, and 12,000 of them die, according to state Department of Public Health statistics. That makes such infections one of the state's leading causes of death, ahead of automobile accidents and Alzheimer’s disease."
Hospitals have become the most dangerous place you can be in today. Why is this?
First of all hopsitals are not clean and nor do the staff, including doctors, take cleanlines as seriously as their predecessors. Back in 1900, the ONLY defence against infection was how clean the hospital was and how carefully the staff followed the rules about their own person. The #1 work of nursing was keeping the total environment clean.
With the advent of anti biotics, this pressure to be clean has gone away. Cleaning is now performed by cleaning staff and is often seen as mopping and dusting. In 1900 everytime a patient left, the entire bed and all the screens would be cleaned. Everything would be sterilized.
The widespread use of antibiotics, especially with livestock, has reduced their efficacy and has produced resistant bugs. The high carb diet has and the use of anti biotics has also created a new environment inside us! Many people have very toxic gut flora that is just waiting to get out and play.
C Difficile, lives in our own gut! It kills 30,000 people a year in the US.
So what can we do?
Today, most of us think nothing about surgery. We think it is routine and safe. As you can see from the stats, it is not safe. Much of surgery today is not vital. It may be useful but not vital. A Doctor friend of mine has a rule for himself. If he would not have the surgery without an anesthetic, he would not have it. This was the choice until 1860. You had surgery as a last resort. So the first step would surely be to avoid surgery. But what if you have bad knees? Ask why as a first step. What else can you do before having surgery?
More than 500,000 joint replacements were performed in Canada last year. The demand for knee and hip replacement is growing at 15% per annum. I was on my way to join this group myself. But since I lost 35 ilbs, my knees are of course much better. The waiting room was full of overweight people.
Being over weight for decades put a terrible strain on our joints. Pick up a 50 pound bag of potatoes and walk up and down the stairs and you will see immediately what I am talking about.
You have to have surgery. How do you reduce your own risks?
A high grain diet messes up with your gut flora and set up C Difficile to become dominant in your system. Change your diet. Investigate the topic of gut flora. See how it is central to your health.
We bring C Difficle into hospital in our own bodies. We give it the optimal environment to thrive by how we eat and by how we use antibiotics and how the food industry uses them. You can eat a diet that offers you high gut health and that gives CD a rough time.
Routinely taking anti biotics for minor problems also ruins your gut flora. They kill off your good flora and they promote C Difficile. Avoid antibiotics unless you really have to use them. Use them sparingky and when you do, work to restore your gut flora with the right kind of diet and with pro biotics.
Buy different food. Most of antibiotics today are used by the factory farming system to keep their cows, pigs and chickens alive long enough to go to market. The FDA announced that 80% of all antibiotics used are used on livestock. You can make the shift to buying meat from producers that don't factory farm.
We are not helpless. We have many choices before us that can give us a strong immune system and a healthy body. I fear that we take for granted that we can do anything we want and then be fixed risk free, that we have given up taking charge of ourselves.
What will it take to give us the incentive to take charge? We wear seat belts in our cars. We worry about plane crashes. Most of us don't smoke now. But we think a pill or the knife will fix us risk free. Did you know that the #1 cause of death for Americans between the ages of 35 and 50 is from reactions to precription drugs?
My book, You Don't Need Medicine to get Healthy, is an overview of how you can take control of your own health. At $2.99, it is surely a bargain?