Evidence Based Medicine: If Only The Emperor Had Clothes

Evidence based medicine is the politically correct thinking in the healthcare profession.  If you are not on this train, you had better keep your thoughts to yourself. I ask the simple question, when has medicine not been evidence based?

The philosophy is evidence based medicine is rooted in current research. What is not stated is that the evidence is fluid always in flux and changing as new diseases are identified, new medications successfully tested and therapeutic techniques evolve.

One has to ask, who is paying for the research? So much of today’s research is bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. As we have experienced in medicine, studies can be manipulated and medical professionals can be bought. So who’s evidence are we relying on? I am not saying that all research is faulty or invalid rather I do not put my faith in the current medical dogma of evidence based medicine.

I believe the concept is bad for medicine. I say this because if a patient presents with symptoms that do not fit the evidence based mind set, then they are invariably told the symptoms are in their head. In other words, it is a mental health issue. I believe it is a way to dismiss the person without offering further support while feeling justified because evidence based protocols were followed.

The most curious part for me of telling a person it is in their head, is most medical professionals do not believe in the mind-body connection or therapies. So how can you say it is their head? And where is the evidence based research that says if a person doesn’t fit the protocol, it is psychological?

But has the medical professional really done their job or do they feel inconvenienced by having to look outside the box? I have many clients who call me because their doctor or nurse practitioner has shooed them out the door with a prescription for an anti depressant. I am asked to find a doctor who will truly listen to their symptoms and help. Yes, most have a real problem with a real diagnosis.

I had one person who had a rare neurological disorder that was diagnosed too late to ever walk again. It was an illness that had someone taken the time to look beyond evidence based thinking might have changed the course. It took three years to get an answer. My client didn’t fit the evidence based protocols and therefore was told nothing could be done.

My point is, sometimes the full picture of symptoms has expanded outside the box of evidence based medicine protocols. We should listen to the story of symptoms. For instance, if someone’s TSH is lurking on the high end and they are complaining of many hypothyroid symptoms, why not suggest a kelp product? Are the symptoms in the patients head as the numbers creep up? Why resist offering some assistance? And the insurance doesn’t have to pay!

Evidence based medicine should not be the end all by which we think. It has become a crutch to dismiss those patients we cannot easily find an answer for or treat. It has also become a way for practices to drop patients because they do not cooperate properly or are labeled noncompliant.