I found this weeks videos and readings very interesting, especially when talking about how biomedicine can affect the environment. The first lecture talked about how western biomedicine separates the body and the mind, while most other medicines treat them together as integrated systems (Gabriel, 3.1). I have never thought about western medicine in this way, but now I can relate this practice to the way I have been treated by doctors. When I first went to see a doctor about my anxiety they always related it back to biomedical reasons. They tested my thyroid every time I came in, asked if I had enough vitamin D, and only asked about my past medical problems. Yes, it would be great if it was a thyroid problem that could be easily fixed, but it lead to great frustration because they made me believe that there was nothing wrong with me. They never asked about my transition to college, or my relationships with others, which in return made me believe I was making it all up because my blood results were coming back fine. I appreciated learning about other medicines such as the Chinese that believe the whole body is connected (Gabriel, 3.1). I think linking ones religion and culture to their healing is very beneficial. Every patient is unique, so I do not believe that there is one way to treat Dr. Frank Lipman focuses on fixing the flaws of Western Medicine and believes one of the biggest problems to be that, “Everyone with the same disease gets treated the same way, patient uniqueness ignored…We treat the disease, not the patient” (Lipman). Some people may just have a cold and need biomedicine, but others may be suffering in other ways that a simple drug cannot help with.
Another part of the lecture that intrigued me was how when in Western medicine we ask, “does it work?” we are referring to the facts based on clinical trials (Gabriel, 3.2). In other cultures, they consider the bigger picture and how it works with family life, the environment and the rest of the community (Gabriel, 3.2). At my internship this summer, I am doing a lot of research on sustainability in packaging and the effect of plastic waste on our environment. Because of this, I found the story about how chemotherapy is poison and could in ways be contaminating our water very interesting (Gabriel, 3.2). I think in America we live with this mantra of always advancing to a better and faster solution, that sometimes we don’t consider the consequences. I read all these articles about how no amount of recycling will reverse climate change, and that even if we focus on waste decrease, then we are hurting out water conservation. There is no way to truly win because we overlooked the long-term consequences. Just like with clinical trials and chemotherapy. I completely understand that these things do work for some people and are amazing advances and treatments, but sometimes I wonder if we are looking at it all wrong.
Lipman, Frank. “What Are the Biggest Problems You See with the Way Medicine Is Practiced Today?” Dr Frank Lipman. 2010. Accessed July 22, 2016. http://www.drfranklipman.com/what-are-the-biggest-problems-you-see-with-the-way-medicine-is-practiced-today/.