Ethics in Medicine

Head of Integrative Medicine at Scripps contributes to the Atlantic Debate

Kristen Sparrow • June 21, 2011

Though I would have to say that there hasn’t been much coming from the other side on this “debate.” Of course, I agree with the majority of commenters at the Atlantic, but it could be more balanced. I will excerpt a bit from Mimi Guarneri’s contribution. (Notice the title of her article, ahem…) (For more information about my practice please click here.)
Mimi Guarneri, M.D. – Mimi Guarneri, M.D., is a clinical cardiologist and the founder of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California.
First, Do No Harm
By Mimi Guarneri, M.D.

Jun 21 2011, 8:00 AM ET 4

“Allopathic,” or conventional, medicine excels in acute care. The “ill to the pill” mentality may be needed to fight an infection; surgery can be lifesaving. But allopathic medicine is not proactive; it is not focused on disease prevention and it has failed at chronic disease management. Allopathic medicine is focused on diagnosing disease after it has occurred, offering treatments based on surgery and pharmaceutical therapy.

As a board certified internist, cardiologist, and nuclear cardiologist, I recognize the value of the medicine I was taught at SUNY Downstate, Cornell, and New York University. But as a physician who practices the Hippocratic Oath — “first do no harm” — I have been compelled to seek out methods to heal my patients, relieve suffering, and prevent disease that are not part of the allopathic medicine paradigm…

Today the foundation of our medical pyramid is drugs and surgery. I believe the apex of the pyramid should be drugs and surgery and the foundation should be clean air, and water, nutrition, sleep, resiliency, and community.

I heartily agree with all of the above and would add that acupuncture offers the “resiliency” component of prevention. Clean water actually has contributed a huge amount to the ‘Miracles of Modern Medicine” that the 20th Century enjoyed.

So why are we arguing over whether or not acupuncture is a placebo? We have three licensed acupuncturists and two physician acupuncturists at The Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine. I can cite patient after patient who has received benefit from our acupuncture program. And in regard to Dr. Salzberg’s post, I have never seen a punctured lung or infection as a result of an acupuncture treatment. While I am sure complications can occur, they are certainly much less common than the hospital-acquired infections I saw as an interventional cardiologist.

The United States ranks 37th in the world in health outcomes and spends 2.6 trillion dollars per year on chronic disease management. The majority of this expense is attributed to seven chronic diseases — all of which are preventable. Many of these diseases are man-made, the result of air pollution, high fructose corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated oils. The Interheart Study, which looked at 30,000 men and women in 52 countries, concluded that 90 percent of first heart attacks are completely preventable through lifestyle change. ..