Medical risks

All hospital treatments carry a fair risk and for many it is a one-way ticket. This is one of many areas where the risk is out of our control and bothers us. We know the dangers of driving but if we are at the wheel, we see it as a part of our own destiny. We need to ask ourselves if what we are about to do to ourselves is necessary and worth the risk. Things become the norm, standard practice and we don’t always look at alternatives. People have blood transfusions and sneer at those that refuse them. People recover sometimes, despite having them, not always because they did. You could be given the wrong type no matter how good the procedures are in place. Mistakes are always possible, screening is not infallible for you could get diseased or tainted blood. Having a procedure done without a transfusion carries a risk but it is sometimes slightly lower than with it. Maybe 6% of people die or have major complications having had it compared with 4% of people who don’t have it. There may come a time when automation reduces the risk considerably and alien blood is no longer a problem, it is simply an example where we accept things as they are.

In many cases people are left for a while after an injury to recover and allow the body to heal itself before further invasive actions. Ways of doing things go full circle. The old ways of having a long rest to recover rather than intervening and being impatient for a quick recovery comes back to the fore. People ignore the detrimental side effects of most medications.

It took one person and a lot of convincing to change the way people with club feet were treated. People in poorer regions were the most susceptible to this problem and had the least money to do anything about it. The sufferers were not just stigmatised, but had obvious difficulties walking and working. In the richer nations the doctors would do highly complex, lengthy operations to fix the patients. The operations were expensive, risky and traumatic. People became accustomed to letting talented surgeons handle it. It was considered great that these procedures could be done. However, one individual heard of another way and went to investigate. Rather than slice open the legs break the bones and set them straight they found that they could just be bound against a stick and forced into a straight position. By binding and gradually tightening, over the months the legs and feet would straighten out very well indeed. Not only is this much less invasive it is a something that can be carried out at near zero cost anywhere. It doesn’t have the problems with aftercare and infections. The moral of the story is that having blind faith in the way things are done sometimes closes us off from exploring simpler less risky alternatives. Having said this, we might have come across the placebo effect and wish to try alternative medicines. They are all well and good for some but do not have the power of great research and study that accepted medicinal practices do. We can be fooled by false hope on the one hand or go the other way and think that everyone is doing things wrong. We only need to be aware of the potential to simplify and improve. On that note you can’t think yourself better but positivity and having a lot to live for will aid a recovery.

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