In a virtually unheard of move, a medical professional has come forward with a personal story filled with regret and industry shame. She even goes so far as to say that modern medicine “doesn’t train doctors to see patients as individuals” and that “patients are no longer treated as a whole person, but individual body parts.”(1)
Those are the words of Dr. Erika Schwartz, founder of Evolved Science, a boutique personalized medicine group headquartered in New York City. Schwartz, who specializes in anti-aging, hormone balancing and disease prevention is also the author of Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You: How to Beat Physician Arrogance, Corporate Greed and a Broken System, and is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail.
Specifically, it’s the death of a patient several years ago that she simply can’t get out of her head. Schwartz recalls that the woman had a large blood clot in the main arteries to her lungs and knew that she wouldn’t live long at all.(1)
However, rather than gently inform family members of her situation, which would have allowed them to spend their final moments together, she caved in to the pressure of proving her diagnosis to department heads and staff members, something that was deemed necessary during certain hospital presentations. Proof in this case meant subjecting the ailing woman, who was in her 70s, to an angiogram where injected dye would demonstrate less-than-ideal blood flow. The proof that Schwartz provided to colleagues the following day was a feather in her cap, boosting her reputation.(1)
The moment that turned a curt, self-centered doctor into a caring one motivated only by kindness
As for the sick woman? She died on the angiography table, instead of being surrounded by loved ones.
It’s that moment that Schwartz says forever changed her outlook about her own behavior as well as the medical system as a whole. “I didn’t have to prove my diagnosis,” she says. “Does it really matter what caused the final blow? I think what matters more is the kindness with which we choose to live our lives – and I’d like to think this is what my patients experience with my care now.” She explains that her “actions were insensitive and inhumane.”(1)
These days, she’s working with her kindness mind-set in full swing. She’s dedicated to providing a highly caring approach to her patients rather than what she calls “cookbook” approaches, in which every person essentially receives one-size-fits-all methods to address their ailments. She’s also adamant that modern day medical approaches must shift so that doctors are less influenced by fears of being sued or the pressure of the latest drug company launches, and more motivated by an individual’s unique needs.(1)
Doctors today have “lost the art of listening”
“Speaking as a doctor,” Schwartz says, “I know for a fact that doctors aren’t bad people, but we have lost the art of listening and become too wrapped up in the technology of medicine.” As such, she advises patients not to be afraid of saying no to doctors or putting up with any arrogance they project.(1)
She suggests questioning all recommended procedures and treatments, especially ones which are not clearly explained in the first place, and says to never refrain for fear of hurting a doctor’s feelings or insulting their professionalism.(1)
Enough is enough
The world needs more doctors like Schwartz who shed light on what’s really happening in the medical world, and who strive to change it for the better.
Enough of the likes of Dr. Farid Fata, who told healthy patients they had cancer even though they didn’t, just so he could profit by administering treatments. Enough of people like Turing Pharmaceuticals’ CEO Martin Shkreli who thought it a terrific idea to up the price of a tablet used mainly by AIDS and cancer patients from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill.(3,4)
The world desperately needs more people who treat patients as humans, instead of as something they can profit from or use to get promotions and bonuses.
Sources for this article include: