Ask the Doctor: This week, our resident medico “Justa GP” covers the topic of Alternative medicine.
By JUSTA GP
Mine is the only branch of science where is an “alternative”.
Who wants to fly in a plane built by “alternative aeronautical engineers”?
Who wants to trust the brakes on their car designed by “alternative automotive engineers”?
And yet … Many of my Mosman patients seek and subscribe to “alternative medicines”.
Australians spend $3.5 billion each year on alternative therapies, equal to the expenditure on pharmaceuticals.
If medicine is proven to be effective in rigorous and extensive clinical trials it enters mainstream medical care.
If medicine is NOT proven to be effective it is called “alternative” medicine.
That notwithstanding, millions of people are persuaded to buy these products, despite them often being useless.
I am often asked by naturopaths or “health care professionals” to do blood tests for my patients.
They do this in the hope that Medicare will pay for the tests if they are ordered by a registered medical practitioner.
The Medicare regulation is that a service must be “medically necessary” to attract a rebate.
Many of the tests I am asked to do are not medically necessary.
I am regularly astonished at the confidence of alternative therapists to diagnose and treat diseases such as Thyroid problems.
They ask for tests like “Cortisol, Insulin levels, Reverse T3 levels” – and long lists of arcane tests which are mostly found buried deep in medical textbooks such as the MTHFR gene.
Strangely these tests are almost NEVER ordered by expert specialist doctors, like endocrinologists for example, who have spent their entire lives studying and treating thyroid disease.
There is a lovely bronze statue at the top of my street. It is an excellent likeness of our ex-Mayor, Dom Lopez. He was a fine man. He died of cancer. A naturopath allegedly talked him out of having those “nasty” chemotherapy drugs. I would rather be seeing Dom than his statue.
Disclaimer: Always seek the guidance of your doctor or another qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website
Editors Note: The family of Dom Lopez have kindly given their permission for his name to be used in this article.