500 Years of Suppression
"The touchstone of true science is power of performance, for it is a truism that what can, also will, and thus attains to real existence."
t is my position that for the entirety of recorded history in Western culture, but most particularly on account of Greek and Roman influences from about the fifth century, B.C., to the present, the suppression of simple, effective medical remedies in favor of more complex systems, methods, products, and protocols, has been embedded into the very fabric of the prevailing medical establishment. We'll examine the various political, economic, and religious constructs -- my version of "cultural infrastructure" -- necessary to sustain this system of suppression in an upcoming section. For now, it is only important to establish and define the "suppression pattern" and apply it to escharotics, as we discussed in the first chapter, so as to first finish my initial chronology.
An example of a famous medical pioneer who actually USED escharotics, is well documented in his success in treating cancer, was well-known to have been a victim of jealousy among his less competent colleagues (which included nearly everyone save himself), and was finally disposed of as a means of terminating their frightful embarrassment, should serve the present purpose.
He lived in the 16th century.
Most physicians of antiquity acquired their reputation not because they were great theoreticians, but because they were able to cure patients who found little relief elsewhere. The proof was in the pudding. Good doctors cure their patients, and grateful acknowledgement through payment is the natural consequence. (Today it's the reverse. Getting paid is primary. The cure is an after-thought. This is poignant reality that hits anyone who has ever visited the ER section of a modern American hospital.)
A master of empirical eclecticism in the medical arts, Paracelsus gave credence to neither academic credentials nor social standing. He understood the dangers inherent in ideological rigidity and was the very antithesis of monoculturalism in medical approach, in all its diverse theoretical and applied facets that are as much an infection in medicine today as it was back in the days of Galen.
Paracelsus is reviled for his association with mysticism, astrology, and alchemy by contemporary historians -- indeed he found ways to harness them all in his practice -- and yet his critics must begrudgingly note his unusual successes. Centuries before Mesmer, Paracelsus understood and employed the principles of suggestion; centuries before Freud, he understood mind/body connection; centuries before Antonio Meucci 5 or R. Raymond Rife, 6,7 he utilized electromagnetic therapy; he discovered hydrogen, nitrogen; coined the term "alcohol" (from the Arabic) 8, and identified zinc. He composed his own pharmacoepia and achieved clinical success that few physicians today can match -- all at a time when medical specialization, as we know it, was non-existent.
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781), one of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment, said of him, "Those who imagine that the medicine of Paracelsus is a system of superstitions which we have fortunately outgrown, will, if they once learn to know its principles, be surprised to find that it is based on a superior kind of knowledge which we have not yet attained, but into which we may hope to grow." 9. His knowledge of subtle energies that act upon the living organism mimic principles that only now are beginning to migrate from our recent discoveries in quantum physics into the stodgy crevices of our biological sciences. Paracelsus is widely credited with not only being the "father of modern medicine" -- in part because of his expansive and radical departure from the apothecary practices of his time -- but the father of lesser known or respected practices and disciplines, including iatrochemistry and balneology. 10. Viewing the breadth of his work and the endurance of so many of his ideas (not to mention a universe of thought that did not endure -- perhaps because we have not the sufficient collective consciousness to comprehend them), it does not seem hyperbolic to say that he was "the precursor of chemical pharmacology and therapeutics, and the most original medical thinker of the 16th century." 11
In a facet of personality that appears common among those who rise too far above the mean intelligence of their medical peers, Paracelsus appeared to have little by way of humility. While lecturing at the University of Basel, he is reported to have said that the soft down on the back of his neck knew more about the practice of medicine than all the professors of Basel put together 12. A celebratory book burning of works by Galen and Avicenna, pillars of 16th century medical thought, which Paracelsus orchestrated in the spirit of religious leader and fellow German reformer, Martin Luther (1483-1546), was the last straw for many. It wasn't enough that he could cure illnesses that no one else could, he made a point to rub his colleagues collective face in it. On one occasion Paracelsus offered to cure any patient deemed incurable. Fully prepared to disgrace this wild braggart, his colleagues presented him with fifteen advanced cases of leprosy. (One can only imagine that since his enemies got to do the choosing, these were no mean challenges. No doubt with advanced cachexia and one foot already in the grave).
He cured nine out of the fifteen. 13.
The escharotic formula that Paracelsus used was as simple and direct as the rest of this practice. Instead of zinc chloride as a caustic halide, Paracelsus used "sal ammoniac" (ammonium chloride), along with fuligo (wood soot), and orpiment (arsenic sulfide). 14. According to records of the time, it worked. (Interestingly, Paracelsus employed his own "arsenic paste" nearly 400 years before Nobel Prize-winner, Paul Ehrlich, created his own celebrated version to treat syphilis in the early 1900's. 15. Variations in the 1800's had already been used by allopaths to treat skin cancer). 16
Paracelsus had a separate formula that was less "intense," which he used to treat skin cancers, jaundice, and some wounds. We don't know the exact method of preparation, but it used "litharge" (lead monoxide) as the caustic agent. 17
As one might expect, Paracelsus' reviling of tradition would eventually cost him his life, as he was unceremoniously pushed off a cliff by hired assassins "in the employ of the medical fraternity," according to supporters. 18 Though even a most orthodox review of Paracelsus' contribution to modern medicine cannot diminish his stature, the allopathic version of his end, as with most dissenters, has him in a most unflattering exit off stage -- namely, a bar room brawl 19 Or victim of a midlife stroke. 20 The reputation of more recent dissenters who produced miraculous results has faired no better -- even to the point of altering a death certificate. 21
Paracelsus was my illustrative choice here not only because he was a medical luminary nonpareil, but because the elements of suppression are most vivid in his life and work -- such as I have most scantily summated here.
Central to Paracelsus' work was the use of natural plants and mineral compounds, and what we might regard as the rudiments of modern chemistry. He didn't abandon Galenian concepts of herbal medicine, but his understanding was deeper, richer, and more holistic -- turning empirical, "evidence-based" medical herbalism into a kind of subset of a much larger universe of thought and practice.
There are hundreds of botanical extracts, the knowledge of which come to us from indigenous sources worldwide, which have shown to have anti-cancer properties. Dr. Jonathan Hartwell, one of the founders of the National Cancer Institute, spent most of his adult life categorizing them, leaving behind a reference that would become a classic in the field of phytopharmacology and ethnobotany. 22 (Later I would write an article, in tributary devotion to Hartwell's influence on my own work.) 23
But escharotics are not just botanicals. They employ, by definition, a lightly caustic compound, with one or more botanical ingredients. Caustics usually involve the use of a metal salt, often a halogen combined with a metal (halide), such as zinc chloride or potassium iodine. 24 (Though in the case of one famous physician, the contribution of the dissociated potassium was considered paramount.) 25
Another anhydrous chloride, "butter of antimony" (antimony trichloride) fits into this category. Many dermatologists are aware that along with zinc chloride, butter of antimony was one of the ingredients in a number of early escharotics of the 1900's. 26 But its use goes back even to Paracelsus in the 1500's -- though it appears he used it for other maladies. 27
I always stuck with zinc chloride in my escharotic work, and if you spend a couple hundred hours (as I have) going through patent records to uncover what caustic previous researchers have used, zinc chloride is, by far, the caustic of choice. Familiarity with its useful properties is not new. Anthropologists found traces of man-made zinc chloride in the Pyramid at Giza, produced at LEAST 2,500 years ago -- (though one researcher attributes its use to the generation of power and not medicine.) 28
Zinc chloride, though now reviled by allopaths in an attempt to smear alternative practitioners, was one of just three ingredients in the initial Mohs surgical paste that is now central to a standard dermatological procedure approved through the West. The three ingredients that Mohs used in his formula and taught were: zinc chloride, bloodroot, and stibnite (antimony sulfide, another Paracelsus favorite) 29 , and can be found in Mohs own original work. 30 . Ironically, the AMA, FDA and other pillars of orthodox medicine exerted enormous effort to put Harry S. Hoxsey out of business (and they succeeded) 31, and yet Hoxsey's formula was almost identical to Mohs. The difference? Mohs called the topical a "fixative," and he artificially and unnecessarily inserted the act of surgery as a necessary part of the process. 32
Hypocrisy and suppression have appeared together as cousins throughout the history of organized medicine, as we'll see time and again.
(By the way, American physicians are now taught that zinc chloride was eliminated from the Mohs paste as an ingredient because it is caustic to healthy skin tissue. There is no nice way to say this: it's a patent lie. I myself have worked with "butter of zinc" bases that were over 60% pure zinc chloride and had the thick, syrupy mess dripping from my fingers down to my elbow for the better part of an hour. Upon removal with running tap water there was only slight irritation to the skin on my forearm. I have done this not less than fifty times in a twelve year period -- 1991 to 2003.)
The suppression of effective, inexpensive, natural methods of healing has a history in the U.S. that is more extensive and egregious than any place on earth, in any time period on earth. I didn't realize just how true this was until I compared various escharotic patent filings in the U.S., with court filings on Hoxsey, Rife, and others, and then compared this with published work on the subject.
In late 1857 and 1858, three separate medical doctors surfaced in the U.S. and England with reports of a cancer cure that worked with amazing success. 33
The first was Dr. J. Weldon Fell.
A man of no plebeian upbringing, Fell was born to an old and distinguished American family with a long lineage of famous physicians and professional men, Fell was one of the original founders of the New York Academy of Medicine and a faculty member of the University of New York -- and as cancer writer Nat Morris noted, his was "one of the most interesting (stories) in the history of cancer." 34-36
According to Morris, "... a sinister cloud enveloped his career because of his cancer practice and in the prime of his life, he emigrated to London to start anew. There he engaged again in the practice of cancer under very auspicious circumstances for he was singularly prosperous and lived very lavishly."
His departure from New York was shrouded in mystery, but it fits a recurring pattern for physicians whose cancer practices rise too far in success above their peers. Prior to leaving, Fell attempted to resign from the New York Academy of Medicine, but his resignation was refused. It appears his association with a "cancer quack," a certain Gilbert of New York City, had caused colleagues great animosity. His resignation was postponed in the hope of "pinning a charge of quackery upon him so he could be ignominiously ejected from the academy."
Fell's subsequent success in London provides evidence as to the cause of his mistreatment in New York, as does the sizeable fortune, earned while servicing a grateful, sizeable base of patients in the U.S., which he took with him to England. He wrote a friend of renting a castle for $100 per week, a kingly sum at that time.
In the fine tradition of Paracelsus, Fell was also a man lacking in humility. A mere guest in his new host country, he derided English surgeons for "operating and amputating without any justification whatsoever and said that limbs were cut off merely to satisfy the vanity or sadism of surgeons. He charged that practices were tolerated in England that would never be permitted in the United States and of all the physicians he had met in London, there were only two whom he would trust to treat himself or his family." 37
Remarkably, excepting these sharp comments on the surgical practices of his contemporaries, Fell remained on good terms with his fellow English practitioners, and although little is known of the final years of his life, the record shows that he never again fell into disrepute -- alleged or otherwise, professional or public -- again.
Dr. Fell published a text on cancer, the content of which is the basis for his inclusion in the present work. 37b
To the best knowledge of this author (and I would be delighted to hear from anyone who would refute my assertion) Fell was the first one to publish an escharotic as it has come to be most popularly used in the West -- namely, the use of zinc chloride as the caustic of choice, along with a cancerolytic (cancer-fighting) medical herb. The use of zinc chloride as a superior, though mildly, caustic (it has a pH of 5.0), is reflective of the experimentation that took place over the preceding centuries. Caustics known to have been used, then and prior, in orthodox practice included "nitrate of silver, quicklime, sulphate of copper (sometimes used with borax), sulphuric acid (oil of vitriol) mixed with saffron, and permanganate of pottasa. Alkaline caustics such as sulphate of zinc were also in vogue." 38 Dr. Fell dismissed them all, so he must have known of their shortcomings, as did his contemporary and fellow user of escharotic preparations, Dr. John Pattison (see below).
Fell's publication itself places him 20 years prior to the filing of U.S. Patent No. 209,311, and just four years after A. Hunton's 1855 treatise, "On some of the medical virtues of indigenous vegetables grown in the United States." We are also told by Hunton that the manner in which the medical secrets concerning bloodroot were obtained from an Indian doctor were less than honorable. 39 (None of which compares, of course, with the rapacious pilferage of indigenous Americans' land and most of their very lives.) 40
Even apart from Fell's open admission that the central role of bloodroot in his medical product came from native savages, 41 there is the issue of its use in American folk medicine long before that, specifically, its widespread use in Pennsylvania, documented as early as 1811. 42 Moreover, since bloodroot is native to the North American continent, its appearance in Russia infers that it may have been exported there. 43 Internal studies by the National Cancer Institute, which have themselves been suppressed, show even wider use in recent times. 44
But again, it is Fell that publicly announces the advancement of an escharotic by adding bloodroot to zinc chloride. Of greater importance is the final report which the board of directors of Middlesex Hospital allow him to publish concerning the results on 25 cancer patients, substantiating his claims that his treatment was far more successful than anything then available "and justified abandoning surgery for relief of cancer." 45
In their official communication, the board made the following cautious endorsements of the Fell cancer treatment:
For now it's important to know that Fell was not alone in his discovery -- even in his own time.
At about the same time that Fell was making headway at Middlesex Hospital, Dr. John Pattison, also an expat from New York City living in London, was also preaching the same message with what appears to be the same formula. Pattison, like Fell, abhorred the surgical treatment of cancer as a fraud upon the public. In 1858, Pattison, too, published his own work, a pamphlet, which provided not only the exact formula, but a precise description of its use. His ingredients? Zinc chloride, goldenseal (hydrastis canadenisa), flour and water. (This author, having experimented with variations of both formulas over many years, can attest that the end result of either Fell or Pattison's formula would be almost indistinguishable topically.) To further punctuate his point, Pattison expanded his pamphlet to a book in 1866, entitled "Cancer: Its nature and successful and comparatively painless treatment without the usual operation with the knife." 48
Neither Fell nor Pattison were obsessed with the elimination of more invasive methods of cancer treatment without sound reasoning. As early as 1844, a survey was compiled by Dr. Leroy-d Etoilles and published by the French Academy of Science. To this day this report on cancer survival is probably the most extensive ever released. It was based on results supplied by 174 physicians on 2,781 cases, followed "in some instances for over thirty years." 49 The short version: patients are better off, in most cases, doing nothing at all than going with surgery. Today, despite modern improvements in techniques and equipment, "the dominance of surgery in the treatment of cancer despite these ominous observations has been maintained by studiously ignoring and suppressing adverse information by the powers that be." 50 The continued practice of unnecessary surgery for financial gain is a contributing factor in "death by doctoring" as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. -- so says a study that miraculously managed to find its way into the pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association as recently as 2000 -- though it was largely ignored by the mass media. 51
Pattison was not singular in his approach. (No physician worth his salt is.) He indicated the role of diet, reflecting the etiological role of nutrition that was a century ahead of its time. Despite the later dating of his publication, Pattison's involvement with the very same Middlesex Hospital that brought fame to Dr. Fell is quite insightful. As it turns out, Pattison's work in London came BEFORE that of Fell. In 1852 Pattison offered to demonstrate his method to the directors of Middlesex Hospital and even to work without pay. An initial agreement was worked out where Pattison would work with twenty cases and would disclose his methods, permitting disclosure of his methods and criticism of results.
The directors reneged. 52
A subsequent request in 1854 was also sent begging. Pattison continued to work in London, where he built a successful practice that was wide and extensive. Nonetheless, Pattison was labelled a "cancer curer" and "quack" by his medical colleagues. His name was deliberately omitted year after year in the semiofficial directory of physicians, an act of mean-spiritedness that was only changed by an act of Parliament.
In comparing the life work of Fell and Pattison, one point becomes most instructive. Their formulas and protocols were, from a functional point of view, nearly identical. So why did the medical community accept one with open arms and slander the other as a quack? This is one of many anomalies in the cancer establishment that defies logical explanation. Why did U.S. Federal authorities come after me because my Cansema, whose active principles were in the zinc chloride and chapparal, both of which appear or have appeared in approved cancer related products (in Mohs' surgical paste and Actinex (NDGA))? Why was I made to plead to selling "an unapproved drug"? Is it because NDGA is okay if it's made in a laboratory, but not okay if it comes from chapparal, the very plant from which the discovery was made -- a plant with an extensive ethnobotanical history of use for medical purposes? 53-56
You find these and so many other "non sequitors" and "profit over logic" contradictions throughout the medical industry.
The third and last practitioner / specimen from 1858 is also instructive. T.T. Blake, M.D., published "Cancers Cured without the Use of the Knife." Unlike Fell and Pattison, Blake would not reveal what his formula was. Nonetheless, the description he gives of the process follows so closely those of all other escharotics, and taking into account the uncanny origin of Pattison and Fell in New York during the very same time period, I would agree with Nat Morris' interpretation that it was most probably an escharotic formulation that was close to theirs. 57
I feel quite certain that these historical cases represent mere shadows in the long list of practitioners who have used escharotic preparations. They were hugely successful and their clinical reports were most positive. So, why did escharotics fall into disuse?
Is it possible that the answers can be found in the "Ten Conditions" discussed in Chapter One? Is there a logical explanation that would refute them? Even in the medical records of antiquity we find evidence of the ubiquitous practice of suppression towards those therapeutic practices that would pose the greatest threat to organized medicine.
Long before the escharotic publications and pronouncements of 1858 -- indeed, long before the miraculous cures of Parcelsus himself, the truth was evident to all who would investigate without vested interest. Paracelsus himself, in attempting to promote his accomplishments chose a namesake that would not refute the soundness of his escharotic protocols. "Paracelsus" is Latin for "above Celsus" -- so who would Celsus have been that Paracelsus chose him as a point of lofty comparison? Why not "Paragalen"?
Shortly after the invention of printing press around 1450 by Johann Gutenberg, one of the first medical works to be published was "De medicina," by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, the first century Roman physician and medical writer. 58 Its initial publishing in 1478, just fifteen years before Paracelsus' own birth, would lead to wide acceptance in the orthodox medical community. Divided into three parts, according to the type of treatment that various diseases demanded -- dietetic, pharmaceutical, and surgical -- Celsus' work laid the foundation for many of the components of the modern medical paradigm in ways even more fundamental than those of Paracelsus. Even Celsus believed that "caustics should be tried before knife or cautery." 59 Before him, "caustics" were used by early Arab and Roman physicians. 60 Viewed from a historical perspective this long, is it really possible that a truly effective way of curing cancer could so easily be suppressed?
In time, you'll be able to answer this question for yourself, but since I myself sold my own escharotic preparations to untold thousands of practitioners and end users worldwide from 1990 to 2003, perhaps I should finish telling you my own story.
It Cures Cancer.
99% of The Time
Granted, skin cancers are the easiest to treat and cure. But the scandal behind escharotics is that this skin cancer cure has existed for literally hundreds of years -- something you learn by the time you complete Chapter 2 to the left. The zinc chloride-based "modern escharotics" have been in regular use since the 1850's, though always the target of suppression by the orthodox medical community.
The reason for this suppression is obvious: skin cancers represent a large percentage of the dermatologist's business. In some areas, basal and squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas and their pre-cancerous keratotic cousins represent better than 50% of their work. The AMA and pharmaceutical companies work very hard to maximize their market share. Anything that works this well, this inexpensively, and has self-diagnostic properties so that you don't need the assistance of a physician, makes it anathema.
... it's hard to determine which is more nauseating: the horrid stories of suppression and abuse in the cancer industry that Morris' revealed in 1959 ... or that nothing has changed in the over 45 years since. For more information on Suppression in the Cancer Industry and a list of suggested reading, see the page, Cancerolytic Herbs: A History of Suppression -- on the Alpha Omega Labs site.
Treatise on Cancer
J. Weldon Fell, published his "Treatise on Cancer and Its Treatment" in 1857. An American with an extraordinary success at curing cancer in his practice in New York, he became an "ex-pat" in London to escape droves of jealous colleagues in the States. Although the book is just 95 pages, the last 30 pages are devoted to some of Dr. Fell's more astonishing cures. Instead of including melanomas or other easier cases (which is child's play to cure for those who know how to work with escharotics), he includes those instances which were considered among the toughest type cancers to cure in his day. The predominant number of cases he reports in the book are, therefore, breast cancer cases. Other cases he reports include one uterine and a couple of epithelial cancer cases of the nose -- similar to those which comprise the "Sue Gilliatt" type frivolous lawsuits of the 21st century.
Naiman covers more of the historical details of escharotic use than I do, and she does a good job of this. However, the practicum material is so inaccurate it makes me wince at times. She states in one place that " ... starting from the beginning, it should be underscored that the experts, from Hildegard to the present, have all more or less concurred that the salves are not a cure. At best, they are an alternative to surgery. There is nothing about them that would prevent recurrence." . Well, that just isn't true.
An experienced user of escharotics knows that to be mind-numbingly preposterous. Or perhaps Ms. Naiman wasn't working with some of the better formulas. Cansema, for one, is a cure. And non-reoccurence is the rule. Frankly, in the thirteen years that I made and sold Cansema, I would say that AT LEAST 50% of all users saw absolutely no recurrence in their skin cancers, or other growths removed near the skin. At least. I myself have used Cansema on about five growths over the years. Only one of them returned such that I had to do another application, and that was about eight years later. Now, I realize that some of this may be attributable to the Cansema formula itself, refined as it was through constant reappraisal of end user and health care practitioner inputs over a thirteen year period.
In another place Naiman says, "even the most fervent advocates of the salve do not recommend the salves as a substitute for proper diagnoses." [62. What she doesn't tell you is that this recommendation is made to mollify the all-powerful medical lobby. No experienced escharotic practitioner believes that their product is not self-diagnosing (i.e. it reacts only to cancerous or precancerous tissue). If an escharotic formula does NOT react to only cancerous or precancerous tissue than it is an inferior formula. So someone would make Naiman's statement only if they were inexperienced in the actual use of escharotics from a clinical point of view, or they dealt in inferior formulations, or they were cowtowing to the medical lobby to cover their hide. I can now speak honestly about this matter because I no longer make or sell my formulas. Prior to my incarceration, I had to lie just like everybody else.
And do heal overs really take as long as "seven months"? Naiman says this is "not unusual." 63. Such an occurrence was very rare with Cansema.
On her web site, Naiman made the statement: "I do not think zinc chloride has much capacity to discriminate healthy from malignant tissues. Depending on scar tissue and pigmentation and some other variables, it might be more readily absorbed by certain tumors, but the healthy tissue is definitely not impervious to this product.
"Zinc chloride is made by pouring hydrochloric acid over zinc. It is extremely caustic and will not merely damage skin but result in possibly extreme pain and scarring. However, it can be washed off with water when accidental contact is made outside the intended treatment area. Just keep in mind that it is caustic and needs to be used sanely and carefully."
Quite recently, she deleted the information on this one page and archived it, but then the very same information appears on her "zinc chloride and bloodroot" page (64). To counter this inaccurate information I added an FAQ question to the Alpha Omega Labs' site, plus a picture of my own hand scooping up a handful of zinc chloride, which I have worked in for up to an hour at a time with only mild skin irritation. (See picture below).
Its a malicious lie with no basis in scientific fact. Zinc chloride has a pH of about 5.0 and is only mildly caustic.
Kenny Ausubel is to Dr. Harry Hoxsey what Barry Lynes is to Dr. R.R. Rife. Both biographers brought their subjects to the attention of the world.
Ausubel went the extra step and had a movie made, which can still be viewed on the Alpha Omega Labs web site.
The relevance of Hoxsey's work to this chapter is the degree to which money and politics suppress even the most effective medical treatment that does not curry favor with the orthodox medical establishment, which demands that cancer treatment, in particular, meets the standards of their "high profit paradigm." Most effective cancer treatments are very inexpensive, and that makes them worthy of suppression. You get extreme doses of this reality when you study Hoxsey -- the success of his clinics and the tens of thousands who came to his support when the FDA came after him. The story of Hoxsey is the story of the brutality of profits over humanity, decency, and scientific principle.
The Hoxsey story has become a fitting metaphor for what's wrong with the "disease care" system we have today that has turned the health needs of ordinary citizens into a cruel system of financial servitude.
We cover some of this same territory with Wohl's 1984 work, The Medical Industrial Complex. Written in 1958, one gets a sense that the problem goes back to antiquity -- that organized medicine is inherently dangerous to one's health and callous to the needs of the ordinary person. He opens with a quote from Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.) that is as true today as it was nearly 2,500 years when written: "Although the art of healing is the most noble of all the arts, yet, because of the ignorance both of its professors and of their rash critics, it has at this time fallen into the least repute of them all. The chief cause for this seems to me to be that it is the only science for which states have laid down no penalty for malpractice. Ill-repute is the only punishment."
In light of a 500 year suppression of escharotic preparations, one gets the sense that the "politics and greed" have been there all along. It's gotten worse, to be sure, but the seed was there long ago.
Your initial impulse might be one searching for relevancy. What does our treatment of the insane have to do with the suppression of medical technology to feed a hungry profit-driven vortex of corporate greed?
The way we treat those in our midst who are LEAST predisposed to speak for, represent, or defend themselves speaks volumes about how everyone else gets treated. Sanity is, after all, an entirely relative thing.
Whitaker's title truncates the essence of things, "Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill" (2001). The work itself is paced in four parts, dividing the American approach to the mentally ill into "The Original Bedlam" (1750-1990); "The Darkest Era" (1900-1950); "Back to Bedlam" (1950-1990s); and "Mad Medicine Today" (1990s - Present).
The truth is not only shocking, but reflective of the fertile soil in which one would expect the suppression of inexpensive, highly effective medical technologies to flourish. Amazingly, schizophrenics in the U.S. fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries, "and quite possibly worse than asylum patients did in the early 19th century ... as a society (we are) deeply deluded about their efficacy."
Whitaker traces a history of treatment specifically designed to "silence patients and dull their minds." (Parallels?) Early on, patients were routinely "spun" until they grew "so weak and dizzy they couldn't move." They had their teeth, ovaries, and intestines removed, and in one shocking therapeutic contribution that speaks volumes about the inhumanity in orthodox medicine, patients were submerged in water so cold that hypothermia resulted.
When eugenics became the rage in the 1920's and 30's, other even more horrific therapies were introduced. The "lobotomy" was introduced that "worked" by damaging the brain, followed in the 1950's by electroshock and wave after wave of news that did little more than impair the patient. Neuroleptics numbed the nervous system and restricted motor movement. As studies emerged showing that these drugs didn't work, they were pushed aside under the influence of the powerful drug companies who made them. A litany of examples in the book show how the drug companies skew their studies and "employ charlatan scientists" to run them. The fact is, the new, more expensive "atypical" drugs are no more effective than the old; only, a new set of side effects have been found. Even more disturbing, patients have been encouraged to participate in experiments that "exacerbate their delusions." The money motive of the drug companies has a strong flavor that saturates the last two "parts" of the book.
And that brings us to my reason for including it as the final literary example for this section on medical suppression.
In another era, another age ... another place in time, the physician took a Hippocratic Oath to "do no harm..." and ... he meant it. In another era, another age, curing the patient was primary; making money was secondary. Are we, too, not patients? Are we, too, not being "dumbed down," anesthetized to the primary motives that drive our so-called "health care system"? Are we not treated in the same way that the insane are treated, the renderings just not as obvious? Are not all the same elements of cruelty, brutality, and callous disregard still left intact? One cannot study the history of the suppression of simple, effective, medical approaches, and then read this book without seeing the obvious correlations.
We may respond to a different poison, but we drink from the same cup.