Are you one of the 245,386?
In answer to a question put by Lord Pearson of Rannoch on Herbal Medicines in the House of Lords, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health, Earl Howe, reported on records of adverse drug reaction (ADR) obtained from health professionals, patients and indirectly from the pharmaceutical industry via the Yellow Card Scheme. Earl Howe said that since 200o, in England and Wales, 245,386 ADR reports have been received of which, 10,446 (4 per cent) recorded a fatal outcome. (Corresponding figures for herbal medicine were quoted as 837 ADR and 8 fatalities.)
Despite the preciseness of the figures, Earl Howe qualified the statistics. Firstly, they may be too optimistic. He said that “The number of reports received via the Yellow Card scheme does not directly equate to the number of people who suffer adverse reactions in the general population to medicines as this scheme is associated with an unknown level of underreporting.” Alternatively, they might be too pessimistic, “It should be noted that healthcare professionals are asked to report suspected adverse reactions on a voluntary basis and the submission of a report does not mean that the reaction cited was definitely caused by the medicine or herbal.”
Either way, they are LARGE numbers.
(In the United States, the equivalent figures are staggering. According to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 1996 108,000 Americans died in hospitals alone “from adverse reactions to Federal Drug Agency approved drugs properly administered by licensed medical professionals”. In the same year, 2.2 million Americans had adverse reactions to FDA-approved drugs.)
The Internet didn’t exist as a public entity which could host a Yellow Card Scheme for the recording of ADR the last time I took a drug, just over 30 years ago. My experience would have fallen comfortably – well, uncomfortably! – into the ADR category, though. The anti-biotics prescribed for my sinusitis were a miserable failure in causing a cure and a mighty “success” in causing a bodily reaction that stayed with me for months, long after that particularly painful bout of sinusitis had dulled down into a distant memory.
That’s not to say that anyone is totally prone to ADR. A relative of mine almost died from penicillin given to him as a new-born baby but gratefully credits his recent survival of pneumonia to the ministrations of medicine.
It is, though, to suggest that for the sake of society’s well-being and happiness, some more intelligent thought could profitably be given to the downside of the side effects associated with the near-monopolisation of healthcare by material approaches to medicine.
On an individual basis, I certainly gave some thought to that when the sinusitis recurred and I was faced with the above-noted scenario for my prospects under medication versus just suffering in silence. Neither appealed! Understandably.
Fortunately, in the interim period I was introduced to Christian Science as a spiritual healthcare approach that has no adverse physical side effects. And when I first applied it to a bout of sinusitis, that in and of itself was such a relief, even while the condition itself still lingered.
When the sinusitis was vanquished by my practice of Christian Science I was overjoyed. And I mean vanquished. It wasn’t just that single bout of sinusitis that went away, the condition has never recurred in my three drug-free decades since. Using Christian Science for my healthcare has, though, had many positive side-effects, especially getting to know God so much better, as infinitely impartial divine Love.
Critics of Christian Science argue that the very choice of using Christian Science is dangerous, because it involves the foregoing of western medicine. That monopolistic thought assumes too much of western medicine, as the ADR statistics illustrate, and it assumes too little of Christian Science.
It is true that “doing nothing” is not acceptable when faced with a physical ailment. Proper application of Christian Science, though, is far from “doing nothing” but rather it is choosing to do the “something” that really reaches for the mental causes behind disease and suffering, identifies them, and uproots them. (To see how this worked in the case of my sinusitis healing, please read the third “transitional moment” in Emerging from the shadow of the Holocaust – my three transitional moments.) In cases where Christian Science is not proving effective, individuals are always free to choose western medicine or other approaches to healthcare and I certainly know those who have done so.
It is crucial that we all respect each other’s healthcare choices and continue to legislate fairly for the variety of preferences that exist. I certainly respect those who choose western medicine, although I would say to anyone who is among the 245,386…if you want to explore your options, read some of the articles on healing on spirituality.com, or peruse Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and see if it works for you, as it has worked for me!