Thursday, March 8, 2012

Friends of Science in Medicine: Irrelevant #2

[Post moved to other blog.]

The Dwyer/Marron Friends of Science in Medicine, finally have a public website where we can learn a little more about them.

Their constitution lists their "Objects" as:
to foster Good Science in Medicine [my capitalisation]
Their home page states:
We are currently campaigning:
"to reverse the current trend which sees government-funded tertiary institutions offering courses in the health care sciences that are not underpinned by sound scientific evidence"
I'm not aware of any usage of "to foster" that translates into attacks and calls for banning properly instituted and checked activities... Buts that's a side-show to the real game.

The Dwyer/Marron group choose to ignore multiple Elephants in the room, hospital deaths, medical adverse events and patient injuries in favour of a campaign that's been termed "a witch hunt", and even if completely successful would achieve so little as to be farcical.

The only fact I can present in support of this is: There are no facts.

Which in itself is a complete failure of Governance and Safety/Quality systems of the Australian Medical system and Profession.

The Irrelevance of Friends of Science in Medicine:
The Dwyer/Marron group make no claims for the numbers of Patient Injuries, nor their severity, attributed to their foes, "Complementary and Alternative Medicine" (CAM).
Are they claiming figures of 1,000,000 injuries and a few thousand fatalities: in the ball-park of known good estimates for Medical and Hospital systems?
If they aren't then:
  • They should say nothing until they go out can get some hard-data on the actual injury and fatality rates.
    • Unfortunately, a single media appearance by Lorreta Marron exposing and shutting down one uncertified backyard operator, while preventing a few injuries, does NOT constitute research or evidence.
    • Friends of Science in Medicine need to apply their own standards to themselves.
      Without strong evidence, what anyone says is completely irrelevant, misleading and potentially harmful.
  • Estimates of use of Alternative Medicine and Therapies in the general population vary between 40-60%. How many visits and treatments does this translate into? NOT anywhere close to the 100M/year visits to GP's? What about the total patient injury rate via CAM?
    • Even the anecdotal evidence doesn't support the view that there are close to the same number of patient injuries as from doctors and hospitals.
    • Get some data before you criticise everyone else.
If even a guesstimate (that's a valid Engineering term and process) put the total Patient Injuries by CAM at 10% of mainstream Medical and Hospital, I'd be very surprised.

And if fatalities were even has high as 1,000th of the known, preventable deaths in Hospitals, I'd be astonished. Do we lose as many as 5 people to certified, registered Alternative Therapy practitioners in a year? You'd have to make some outrageous assumptions to even get there.

So why do these people want to shine a light in an area where the total potential for harm and injury is not even a rounding error in the statistics of the practices they are so virulently supporting?

The irrelevance and hypocrisy of Dwyer/Marron and their The Friends of Science in Medicine is that they know full well the scale and scope of the preventable failures of mainstream Medical and Hospital system, but they then choose to "raise Cain" about areas of relative inconsequence. What's going on?

My message to the Dwyer/Marron group:
Practice what you Preach and Get your own house in order first.

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