Semmelweiss syndrome

Semmelweiss Syndrome: Ignoring the Obvious to Save Face

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Who was Semmelweiss? Please read the post below to find out. We have an urgent message for both patient and physician. It isn’t really new because it started with Hippocrates in 400 BC “when he said ”let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”. He also said that no kind of treatment should ever be used that may do harm. All you have to do is to read the Physicians’ Desk Reference and read about almost any drug. It begins with a short sentence about what it must be used for. Then it very often states that nobody knows why the drug works. What follows is a lengthy discussion of side effects, pure evidence of its toxicity. The potential for harm is implicit. Hippocrates realized that healing was a natural process within the body itself and that any treatment method should assist this process. Today, we are well aware that this healing process requires a huge amount of energy that must be conserved and focused by resting body and mind. Modern  biochemistry provides us  with facts that show the wisdom of Hippocrates when he said “let food be your medicine”!

An Obvious Fallacy in Modern Medicine

Healing is a natural process from within the body that operates best when it is focused. The modern hospital, with its constant clatter and its complete failure to give the patient the rest and tranquility required for energy conservation, works against the healing process. The question that we must ask, is how we should proceed in order to assist healing. The answer must be obvious: help to supply the means by which energy is produced and conserved in the body. Health is a balance between the attack of environment (the enemy) and the constant mobilization of adaptive function that requires energy to maintain functional efficiency (the defense)

Alternative Medicine

This is the philosophy that has given rise to the development of a small group of physicians that use nutrient-based medicine. The point is this: modern medicine attempts always to kill the enemy. Kill the bacteria, the virus, the cancer cell, without killing the patient. Alternative medicine respects this only if it does no harm to the patient. The main approach of these physicians is to anticipate the body’s requirements in all its different ways in attempting to heal itself, the philosophy that was put forward by Hippocrates. These physicians often find that they are excluded from the conventional medical hierarchy, spurned by their former colleagues and despised. When they have a brilliant success with a patient, it is invariably labeled as “spontaneous remission” and we have wondered why this seems to be so inevitable in human affairs.

The Story of Semmelweis

The apocryphal story is that of Ignaz Semmelweiss who was a European physician who practiced before microorganisms had been discovered. He observed that doctors came in from the morgue and delivered their patients without washing their hands or changing clothes. The puerperal fever (childbed fever) rate was excessively high, of course. Semmelweiss concluded that the doctors must be bringing something in on their hands. He divided the ward into two sections and directed that doctors attending patients on one side should wash their hands in chlorinated lime before they performed a delivery, whereas the doctors on the other side should continue in the same old way. It did not need a statistician to see the difference in the incidence of infection. But what happened to Semmelweiss was just as predictable. He had done something new that disagreed with the medical establishment of the day. He was accused of being unscientific by suggesting that an unknown substance on the hands of the doctors was the cause of the problem. He was fired from the hospital and eventually died in a mental institution. He was right and they were wrong. The truly amazing thing is that the medical establishment never bothered to look at the results and times have not changed.

Nutrients Matter: It’s That Simple

People who have to admit their loved ones to hospital as an emergency, knowing and understanding the dramatic effect of nutrient-based treatment, are almost always completely powerless to get the attending physician even to listen to them. A physician of my acquaintance had a patient in hospital with pneumonia due to a resistant bacterial organism. He gave the patient nutritional IVs with water soluble vitamins. The patient recovered. In the next bed was a patient with exactly the same pneumonia who was under the care of another physician. My acquaintance approached what should have been his colleague and suggested that he do the same treatment, using the vitamin therapy. He was told flatly to mind his own business. The patient died. You would think that the second physician would want to discuss the reasoning and the scientific evidence to support the action. Was the belief in his own competence (ego) more important than the life of his patient? This is happening today in the world of medicine. We have come to accept it as the great “Bonanza” of scientific advance. Readers should be aware that the leadership for change will not come from the medical profession. It will come from those most interested in solving those personal health problems that have defied solution, sometimes for years. This website can spread the good news that there are often alternatives to be sought.

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Image: An injection against croup at the Hôpital Trousseau, Paris. Photogravure by Bruun Clement, 1899, after P.A.A. Brouillet, 1893. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark. Source: Wellcome Collection.


Derrick Lonsdale M.D., is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition (FACN), Fellow of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (FACAM). Though now retired, Dr. Lonsdale was a practitioner in pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic for 20 years and was Head of the Section of Biochemical Genetics at the Clinic. In 1982, Lonsdale joined the Preventive Medicine Group to specialize in nutrient-based therapy. Dr. Lonsdale has written over 100 published papers and the conclusions support the idea that healing comes from the body itself rather than from external medical interventions.

1 Comment

  1. Ahh, the hypocrite’s oath, err, Hippocratic Oath I meant. Look, we are at war with corporations and their scientists, with their MDs, with their physicists, their Little Eichmann chemists, biotech shameful ones.

    Anti-war protesters go to jail, immigrant rights advocates go to jail, anti-Trump Inauguration participants go to jail, a guy like Tim DeChristopher goes to jail for bidding on public land in Utah — check out Bidder 70, the movie.

    “Going through intense change with an ignorant and apathetic citizenry, driven by a corporate agenda, is a really, really scary proposition. But going into it with an educated and empowered citizenry that feels it can determine the course of its society and can hold its corporations and governments accountable has a lot of power and potential to it. To me, that’s what makes activism so important.” — Tim DeChristopher

    But do you think MDs will go to jail, for a cause, for humanity? How about the American Pediatrics Association?

    Nope, these millionaires write letters. Quote:

    Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide that has been used since 1965 to control pests on food and feed crops. Some of the crops it is used on include broccoli, soybeans, cranberries, and Brussels sprouts.

    It is known for hurting children’s brain development, even at low levels. It is listed by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as being known to “cause reproductive toxicity.” The chemical has already been banned for home use, and its use has also been limited in the areas near public spaces.

    Given its highly toxic nature, the EPA planned to ban its use in agriculture. However, before the ban went into effect, it was blocked by new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in response to some heavy lobbying from pesticide and agribusiness lobbies. He then announced the EPA wouldn’t be completing a safety review of the pesticide until 2022, allowing it to be used on domestic and imported crops in the meantime.

    It was a very disappointing move to say the least, and it’s one that is putting so many children in danger that even the American Academy of Pediatrics called on him to change the decision. The group wrote in a letter that the risks caused by it are “unambiguous” and pointed out the EPA did not have any new evidence showing it was safe.

    The letter states in part: “EPA has consistently found that chlorpyrifos is not safe, particularly in regard to in-utero exposure and exposures to children.

    “America’s children today and in the future deserve and demand no less.”

    They go on to list symptoms of overexposure such as vomiting, coordination loss, convulsions, paralysis, breathing problems, and even death.

    Given this chemical’s prevalence in our food and the government’s unwillingness to do anything to curb its use, it’s important to choose organic produce or grow your own if possible. Once again, it appears that the best interests of the people are being outweighed by the money and sway of powerful corporations.

    end quote —

    A world where a plumber, teacher, social worker, driver and home care specialists receive the same amount of money for work as a doctor is a world of social and economic justice.

    But when you throw money at them, throw laurels, let them have TV ads, let them cut up young boys and girls for vanity, and give them tax loopholes, well, they end up being part of the disassociative diseased One-to-Ten Percenters.

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