Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!
See my website
Wilde About Steroids

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Read my Mensa article on Cruelty, Negligence and the Abuse of Power in the NHS: Fighting the System

Read about the cruel treatment I suffered at the Sheffield Dental Hospital: Long In The Toothache

You can contact me by email from my website. The site does not sell anything and has no banners, sponsors or adverts - just helpful information about how salt can cause obesity.

Thursday, 31 December 2009

Greater Manchester Health Commission subscribes to the myth that more exercise will reduce child obesity.

The Telegraph reports that "Greater Manchester Health Commission wants residents-only parking around school premises so youngsters can gain exercise by walking or cycling to lessons".

There is no scientific evidence to support the widely-held erroneous belief that increasing exercise reduces child obesity. On the contrary. - See this article from the Guardian: Glasgow University Study finds that increasing exercise does not reduce child obesity.

When children become fat it is essentially because they are eating salty food. Children are especially vulnerable to salt because of their small size and small blood volume, and because their blood vessels are weaker than those of adults. Salt, and the water it attracts to it, can more easily distend weak blood vessels than fully mature ones. The resulting increase in blood volume and other fluid retention results in weight gain, as well as higher blood pressure and many other undesirable consequences. The smaller the child, the less salt they should have - and a baby, of course, should have no salt at all. - Babies can die if they are fed salty food.

Because children have much smaller bodies than adults it would be best if they had no more than half as much salt as adults. Most children, however, have much more than this because they eat so many snacks and instant foods. Just one cheeseburger, for instance, contains almost double the recommended daily salt maximum for children. There are high amounts of salt in packet soups, instant noodles, ketchup and sauces, sausages, burgers and savoury snacks. Fat children will lose weight fast if they eat less salt. And even faster still if they eat plenty of fresh fruit and unsalted vegetables, because these are rich in potassium, which helps to displace sodium from the body. Overweight children should not be put on a diet; dieting is harmful and unnecessary and does not usually result in weight loss. Once children start dieting it is often the beginning of a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and increasing weight and ill-health.

See Children and Obesity

and Sodium in foods

How to lose amitriptyline weight gain:

See amitriptyline

Amitriptyline is one of the many prescription drugs that cause salt sensitivity/sodium retention/water retention/weight gain/obesity.

Lose weight by eating less salt/sodium.

Sodium in foods

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Study finds dramatic rise in type-two diabetes limb amputations in England

BBC News reports that the "number of people in England having a limb amputated because of type-two diabetes has risen dramatically." Obviously this is related to the continuing rise in the number of people developing type 2 diabetes and also with the illness developing when people are younger than previously.

Type 2 diabetes occurs mostly in people who are overweight/obese, and it is one of the very serious side-effects of the many prescription drugs, e.g. corticosteroids, that weaken blood vessel walls, resulting in fluid retention/sodium retention/obesity/raised blood pressure and many other health problems.

To lower your risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc. in the first place, it would be prudent to avoid prescription drugs unless they are really necessary, and make a serious effort to minimise your intake of salt/sodium and salty food. - Avoiding salty food entails avoiding the highly-salted processed foods like bacon, sausages, bread, cheese, cornflakes etc. See
Sodium in foods

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection


prescribed steroids and HRT

See advice for pregnant mothers

Children and Obesity

Monday, 28 December 2009

New Year Resolutions: Please don't resolve to try to lose weight by dieting!

Dieting, i.e. eating less food/fewer calories/going hungry, is not a good way to lose excess weight. - For one thing, it seldom results in weight loss. For another thing it is not necessary to diet to lose weight. And a third reason not to diet is that dieting usually causes weight gain in the end. And fourthly dieting can cause you permanent harm, e.g. by weakening your bones because of insufficient intake of calcium and other nutrients.

The safe, sure, swift way to lose excess weight is to avoid eating salt and salty food. This reduces the fluid retention which is the basic cause of overweight or obesity.

Lose weight, reduce your risk of most cancers, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, vascular dementia, stroke, osteopenia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolaemia, depression, liver and kidney problems, boost your lung function and improve your health in many other ways without drugs, hunger or expense by eating less salt! - Try it!

See my website www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk
The site does not sell anything and has no banners or sponsors or adverts - just helpful information.

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Sodium in foods

http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/story.html - my 'political' page

http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/socio.html - social and economic considerations


prescribed steroids and HRT

See advice for pregnant mothers

Children and Obesity

Associated health conditions


Sunday, 27 December 2009

Welcome to Juvela 'No Added Salt' Mixes!

As I am not a member of the coeliac community, I have no knowledge of Juvela products other than what I can read on their website: http://www.juvela.co.uk/ but I was delighted a few minutes ago to come across their announcement about providing 'No Salt Added' Mixes.

It is excellent news that a food manufacturer is giving customers a 'no added salt' option. If only more manufacturers would do this! There are so many people who want to reduce their salt/sodium intake, and most manufacturers do precious little to assist them in achieving this.

See Sodium in Foods.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Has Christmas excess left you troubled by bloating? - Try cutting down on salt and salty food.

Here are two definitions of bloating:

1. Swollen or distended beyond normal size by fluid or gaseous material.

2. Bloating is any abnormal general swelling, or increase in diameter of the abdominal area. As a symptom, the patient feels a full and tight abdomen.

Very commonly, the 'fluid material' is what I refer to as 'fluid retention', and can be thought of as salt water. When people whose blood vessels are weaker than the norm eat salt, the result is weight gain and bloating (because of excess sodium and water held in the blood vessels and elsewhere). This condition is also known as sodium retention, water retention, salt sensitivity or oedema. If these people reduce their salt intake they lose some of the excess sodium and water, and so lose weight, and if they eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables they lose weight faster, because the potassium in the fruit and vegetables displaces some of the excess sodium from the body.

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

and see Sodium in foods and

vulnerable groups

Bloating associated with PMT


prescribed steroids and HRT

See advice for pregnant mothers

Associated health conditions

Thursday, 24 December 2009

If you don't want to gain a lot of weight over Christmas, go easy on the salt and salty food.

When people gain excess weight it is because they are sensitive to salt. For them, eating salt/sodium and salty food increases fluid retention in the body, and it is this fluid retention that is the cause of the weight gain. See Sodium in Foods.

Salt sensitivity leads to some fluid retention from alcohol too. So go easy on the alcoholic drinks too.

But the good news is that you don't need to diet, or worry about calories, or avoid fatty foods. The Christmas cake and the cream in your coffee won't make you fat. Just shun the salt.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Safe Detox

The safest detox you can carry out is to give up dieting/fasting/starving/counting calories and generally making yourself tired, cold, miserable and hungry, and instead simply concentrate on avoiding eating salt and salty food. That means in practice giving up ready meals, processed food, takeaways and salty snacks like crisps and salted peanuts. It means giving up relying on a convenient shop-bought sandwich for your lunch (bread is high in salt), giving up bacon and sausages and cheese and deli cold meats. It means avoiding sauces and mayos and pickles and Marmite (ugh!) and most breakfast cereals and most biscuits. (More detailed information on Sodium in Foods)

“What is there left for me to eat?” you wail! – What is left to eat is food!


This means buying fresh meat or fresh fish and cooking it, buying real vegetables and cooking them, buying delicious real fruit and eating it. And drinking lovely full cream milk. And making your own bread without salt if you want bread, and using unsalted butter to spread on it.

In just a few days you will feel so much better – fitter, brighter, more alert. You will be losing excess weight and you skin and hair will be in better condition. Cutting out salt is like waving a magic wand!

Why is this? – It’s because salt is the most toxic ingredient in the food we usually buy. For the vulnerable groups it is literally an insidious slow poison that is destroying the health and happiness of millions upon millions of people the world over.

Get a life! – Give up salt! – This is the Safe Detox.

Try to stick to it for the rest of your life.

Transplanted organs are likely to be less safe now because more donors are 'risky'

BBC News reported that the organs used in transplants are now, because of the shortage of donors, more likely to come from patients with a history of cancer or drug abuse, drinkers and heavy smokers, elderly donors and those with serious illnesses.

Extract from the article: “One patient who was given a kidney, which turned out to be cancerous and had to be removed, told File on 4 she had been so traumatised by the experience she had refused to put her name back on the transplant waiting list.

The woman said: “I felt as though my life had been ruined. I felt destroyed, my family was destroyed… my husband has to care for me now. When I was on dialysis before I was coping, now dialysis is worse.”

My personal opinion is that transplanting organs that have a high likelihood of transmitting serious disease to the recipient is irresponsible in the extreme and should not be contemplated.

The way to deal with the problem of insufficient organs available for donations is to prevent so much illness occurring in the first place. – This would be very easily and rapidly achieved by telling the truth about prescription drugs, obesity and the salt connection.

Obesity is the main underlying cause of most chronic illness and a lot of frailty. It is therefore increasingly desirable to reduce the incidence and severity of obesity because this would reduce chronic illness, frailty and human suffering to a small fraction of what it is now. But this CANNOT be achieved by continuing to give the wrong information about the causes of obesity and about how best to reduce obesity.

Obesity is NOT caused by eating too many calories/too much fat and/or taking too little exercise. – No matter how many doctors and other ‘experts’ claim that it is, and that it can be reduced by eating fewer calories and taking more exercise, they are wrong and it is still NOT true. – The hypothesis has never been put to the test scientifically and there is certainly not a shred of valid evidence to back it up.

There is, however, a wealth of evidence to show that it is NOT true. – Millions upon millions of innocent overweight people have tried over decades to reduce their excess weight by eating fewer calories and taking more exercise. – Overwhelmingly they fail to lose weight this way. – They get tired; they feel cold and ill and hungry. – But they do not lose weight (or if they do it is only temporary). – The ‘experts’ then tell them that they have done it wrong; they haven’t tried hard enough or long enough; they are lying; they are mistaken, etc. – The ‘experts’ cannot get their heads around the fact that it is THEY who are wrong; THEY who are lying; THEY who are mistaken…

Obesity is largely caused/exacerbated by fluid retention in people who are sensitive to salt. – It is as simple, and as profoundly complex, as that.

Now – what really causes the fluid retention/salt sensitivity/obesity? – Here are the main causes:

1. Prescription drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline.
Amitriptyline is also known as Elavil, Tryptanol, Endep, Elatrol, Tryptizol, Trepiline, Laroxyl, and is present in some combination drugs, e.g. Limbitrol is a drug which combines amitriptyline and chlordiazepoxide.

Weight gain is also widely reported by people taking Lexapro, Prozac, Fontex, Celexa and Paxil. These are not tricyclic antidepressants; they are SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors). As with the tricyclic antidepressants, the weight gain is because of sodium retention and fluid/water retention, and can be avoided/reduced by avoiding eating salt and salty food.

2. Other prescription drugs such as steroids including prednisolone (also sold as Pediapred®), prednisone (also sold as Deltasone®, Meticorten, Orasone and SK-Prednisone), cortisone, hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, betamethasone, beclomethasone, fludrocortisone, triamsinolone, desonide, fluprednidene, clobetasone, alclomethasone, momethasone, desoxymethasone, fluosinonide, budesonide, fluosinolone, triamcinolone (trade names Kenalog, Aristocort, Nasacort, Tri-Nasal, Triderm, Azmacort, Trilone, Volon A, Tristoject, Fougera, Tricortone, Triesence) and other corticosteroids, Advair – a combination drug that contains Fluticasone, a corticosteroid, HRT and other medications containing oestrogen – like some birth control medication (contraceptives) – amitriptyline and some other anti-depressants, some anti-psychotic drugs, including Zyprexa (aka olanzapine) and other psychotropic drugs, and some anti-epileptic/anticonvulsant drugs, notably valproate (trade name Epilim).

If you have been inappropriately prescribed or over-dosed with corticosteroids or HRT or the many other drugs that cause weight gain, then you may well have developed drug-induced Cushing’s Syndrome, a very serious illness, frequently far more serious than the health problem for which the drugs were prescribed. It is, to the best of my knowledge, an entirely preventable illness if doctors conform to the protocols for prescribing these drugs and if they monitor patients’ progress on the drugs, and if they warn patients about salt. It is VITALLY important that it be realised that weight gain resulting from these drugs is from sodium and water retention, so patients taking these drugs should be warned not to eat salt, or foods containing salt, while taking the medication. They should also be informed that any weight gained in this way can easily and swiftly be reduced by eating less salt/sodium, and they should be warned not to try to lose weight by eating less food or restricting calories because this will not help them to lose weight and is harmful.

If you gain weight suddenly and unexpectedly when you start to take prescribed medication that I have not mentioned on this page, it is highly likely that the weight gain is caused by the drug. You may like to consider whether you really need to take that drug, or whether the dose could be lowered. At any rate if you continue with the drug, try to reduce your salt intake in order to reduce the weight gain. Doctors seldom, if ever, warn about the drugs that cause salt sensitivity and the need very strictly to avoid salt and salty food while on the drugs, and many do not observe the drug protocols and very few properly monitor the patient’s progress on the drugs. Obviously if doctors did do all these things, there would be no steroid victims, no patients with drug-induced obesity, etc. whereas there are many millions of them worldwide, victims of medical negligence and ignorance.

3. If, as a baby or small child, you ate salt and salty food, you were highly likely to have developed sensitivity to salt and you therefore became fat or overweight.

4. Pregnancy can cause fluid retention/salt sensitivity because of hormonal changes during pregnancy. It is important to avoid salt and salty food during pregnancy.
These are the main causes of obesity. Dieting/calorie counting makes obesity worse and should be avoided.

Lose weight, reduce your risk of most cancers, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, vascular dementia, stroke, osteopenia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolaemia, depression, liver and kidney problems, boost your lung function and improve your health in many other ways without drugs, hunger or expense by eating less salt! - Try it!
See my website www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk
The site does not sell anything and has no banners or sponsors or adverts - just helpful information.

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Sodium in foods

I can be contacted from my website if you need my further help. My help is free.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

What steps can you take to reduce the risk of your pet dog or cat getting diabetes?

What steps can you take to reduce the risk of your dog or cat getting diabetes? – Well the main one is to avoid feeding your pet with salty food. Salt/sodium is not good for your pet. So if your pet is begging for a titbit from your plate, and if what is on your plate is a meal that contains added salt, you’d best not give in to that request.

Salty food is even more harmful for dogs and cats (and rabbits) than it is for people. Salt and salty food can cause damaging fluid retention/oedema/water retention/obesity in vulnerable groups. And obesity often leads on to type 2 diabetes.

If for some reason your pet is being treated with steroids, then it is IMPERATIVE that you provide food low in salt/sodium, because most steroids cause salt sensitivity and your pet will gain even more weight and suffer even more fluid retention and feel very tired (and also very hungry because of having to carry all that extra weight/fluid around all the time).

If you want your pets to have a healthy, happy, long life, protect them from salty food. – Don’t give them part of your salt-laden takeaway! – And if you have to give them a pill, don’t wrap it in a slice of ham or hide it in a lump of cheese! – Ham and cheese are high in salt!

See Sodium in Foods

Ketamine craze among teenagers is causing serious health problems

The Guardian reported that teenagers are risking kidney failure when they use ketamine.

Extract: “Ketamine, a powerful tranquilliser used on horses, is being taken in growing number by young people in the UK, causing crippling health problems.

Some addicts have needed to have their bladders removed and must now wear catheters. Other users have suffered serious kidney problems, breathing difficulties, addiction, bouts of unconsciousness and trouble with urinating. The drug also involves a heightened risk of heart attack.

Apparently they turn to this drug mainly because it is cheaper than cocaine. – Well, however cheap it is, cash-wise, it’s shockingly expensive in terms of health.

I urge everyone to avoid all unnecessary pharmaceuticals, whether legal prescribed drugs or illegal street drugs. – Most drugs have adverse side-effects and these can often be serious and permanent.

Good nutrition is the safest medicine and the best life-enhancer.

Cutting down on salt and salty food and avoiding dieting lifts feelings of depression and lowers excess weight.

Guard your health! – It is your most precious possession.

Suppression and Manipulation of Pharmaceutical Drug Research

One of the blessings of the internet is that one comes across blogposts like this one Health Care Renewal post about the suppression and manipulation of pharmaceutical drug research, ghost-writing, institutional conflicts of interest, and attempts to silence a whistle blower.

I urge you to read this well-supported indictment of venal doctors, a corrupt drug industry and the lack of anything approaching an adequate regulatory authority. – The GMC, of course, is notoriously lenient in its treatment of erring doctors and should be abolished as a waste of time and money and a source of further distress to patients who have already been harmed by members of the medical profession.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Jane Akre's blogpage about Medical Negligence is well worth reading

I recommend Jane Akre's webpage: Five Myths about Medical Negligence as a welcome antidote to the misinformation commonly promulgated by powerful interested parties.

This article by the British medical doctor, James LeFanu, in the Telegraph, adds ballast to the subject matter: Arrogant Doctors.

Fighting the System: NHS Complaints Procedures

The first feature article I wrote for Mensa’s monthly glossy magazine was about medical and dental negligence and the uselessness, cruelty and bias of the NHS Complaints Procedures, and was entitled ‘Fighting the System’. In the years since then there will have been changes to the Complaints Procedure, but I am confident that it still harms complainants rather than helping them or reforming the system.
This is a slightly shortened version of the article:

Fighting the System

An abscess flared up on one of my front teeth. Talking was difficult and sleep impossible. My dentist said there was nothing wrong. So I went to the Dental Hospital. The pain – sudden, acute, accompanied by swelling, most severe when biting – was exactly characteristic of an acute abscess. But the pain was discounted and the abscess not treated.

When you have toothache you chew in strange ways to avoid exacerbating it. This puts unnatural pressures on teeth and it is easy to crack them. This happened to me. A cracked cusp, a separate agony, went untreated. Tooth-brushing was an ordeal and could not be as thorough as before the pain. Decay started, causing further severe toothache. This also went untreated. It was almost a year before the abscess was treated. It was over two years before I obtained treatment for all the dental disorders causing the toothache!

If consulted by a man with an abscess and weeping in agony, surely the most negligent dentist would take note of the signs and symptoms and would treat the abscess in its acute phase, ending the pain. In a full year of many attendances at the Sheffield Dental Hospital I was constantly insulted and left in agony. One consultant called me ‘You Fat Depressives’, plural, instead of using my name. It was clear that he habitually addressed suffering women in this way.

I eventually found a dentist brave enough to try to put things right. He dealt with the gross infections, etc but tragically much of the pain had by this time become chronic, which often happens when the cause is not dealt with promptly.

I heard from other women who had had their pain derided or been told that it was ‘nerves’ or ‘all in the mind’. One Rotherham woman had endured agony from trigeminal neuralgia for 13 years before someone (a neurosurgeon in private practice) took her pain seriously and operated. The pain then stopped. Trigeminal neuralgia mainly attacks women and its only symptom is pain. It is not uncommon for people to kill themselves because of severe toothache or because of trigeminal neuralgia, so intense is the pain.

Thirteen years of needless agony. Why does such cruelty flourish? The answer is many-faceted, of course. It includes ignorance and arrogance. Pre-eminent, however, is the health professional’s demeaning attitude towards women, coupled with the scandalous fact that in this country doctors and dentists are accountable to no-one, not to the patient, not to the hospital, not to the NHS.

Women are sub-human, second-class citizens whose voice need not be heeded. Everyone knows, don’t they, that whatever a woman complains of, the ‘real’ cause is usually psychological, and instead of investigation and treatment all she needs is a brusque injunction to pull herself together and a prescription for tranquillisers and anti-depressants. That’ll settle her!

In my desperate efforts to obtain the treatment I needed I turned to every health agency. All pretended that negligence does not occur. No-one insisted that my teeth be examined and my agonising toothache dealt with. The health agencies and the people to whom complainants must address complaints are financed by the DHSS or the NHS and by definition not impartial. The Complaints Procedure routinely adds to the difficulties of complainants rather than dealing with their complaints of negligence.

Why are the legislators not moved to effective remedial legislation? There are many reasons, I suppose; laziness, fear, the myth of medical infallibility, the desire to keep in with medics and their retinues, the fact that most MPs use private medicine rather than the NHS and that when they do use the NHS they get preferential treatment. Surely, also, a lack of imagination – failure to comprehend the scale of the suffering, the profound and terrible difficulties of damaged victims – trapped in pain and distress and worry, trapped in misunderstanding, trapped in bewilderment that those to whom they turn for help and from whom they have been led to believe they will receive it, adopt a confrontational stance. There is no-one in the entire edifice of the Health Service from whom victims of medical negligence can be assured of receiving help. They do not know where to turn.

In the Sheffield Star of August 20th 1986, the Administrator of the Sheffield Family Practitioner Committee is quoted as saying of complaints that most of them ‘were dealt with amicably, although in some cases the patient was struck off’. Dealing with complaints is clearly thought of as a matter of smoothing ruffled feathers or of placating/punishing the complainant, rather than of examining faults that need to be put right. If you made a complaint about trains, you would not consider it resolved by being forbidden to travel by train any more, would you? Why should a complaint about a doctor be considered resolved by crossing the complainant off his list?

When in the press someone criticises the medical profession, another person is certain to write in to protest that they themselves received wonderful treatment. e.g. the dreadful way that Sue Arnold was treated at the Moorfields Eye Clinic in London, reported a few months ago in her column in the Observer magazine. The following week someone wrote about their wonderful treatment there. If you publicised finding a dead mouse in a loaf, no-one would dream of writing to say that they had had a loaf from the same shop and it hadn’t had a dead mouse in it! Officials aver that the public makes few complaints about the Health Service. Like saying that most of our loaves don’t contain dead mice.

The official claim disregards the justifiable fears many people have about making a complaint. You risk being struck off a doctor’s list (and often the family of the complainant is also struck off) and may find it difficult to get a doctor at all.

The main reason for outraged complaint is being treated as sub-human. As I was. Callously left in agony which could easily have been treated and which I clearly could not treat myself. Agony for which it was impossible to get relief without the treatment that was being denied me. Abscesses and caries cannot ‘get better’. There has to be professional intervention.

By allowing medics to insult people under the guise of diagnosing them, by allowing honourable people to be treated in this appalling way, humanity is defiled. By categorising the person who then complains as a nuisance who must be pacified if possible and quelled if not, no-one is safe from such defilement.

There are moves to tinker with the Complaints Procedure. The Primary Health Care leaflet, with the Government’s proposals for discussion on health services outside hospital, suggests that there should be informal conciliation procedures to settle less serious complaints quickly and effectively. Again the ruffled feathers syndrome. Complainants do not want conciliation, they want remedial action taken about the complaint. Officially, negligence does not occur. So nothing is done about it.

It would be salutary to cause to be published a sample of the complaints of the last year and what the Complaints Procedure did about them. This would show it up for the charade it is. One only hears of anything being done if the matter is given publicity, which seldom helps.

That suffering, ill, exhausted people damaged by the medical profession have the right to redress in the civil courts is no right at all. Only 3% or 4% of cases get to court and they take a minimum of 4 years to get there. Everything is weighted against the victim, especially the hostile attitude of the Health Authorities. In any case, action in the civil courts has only individual relevance. General reform cannot result.

What victims most need is remedial treatment. There is no provision for this. What can be more important than the right to urgent remedial treatment when you have been harmed by hospital personnel? Gross medical negligence is compounded by the implacable unhelpfulness of the Health Authorities.

The NHS should be accountable to the consumer – i.e. the patient. Medical and dental staff have absolute power to give or to withhold necessary investigation and treatment to patients, to treat them with insolence, to defame their characters in privileged communications, etc. provided only that they call this the exercise of ‘clinical judgment’. (Compare this with, in recent times in Parliament, the ritual incantation that a matter is one of ‘national security’ and as such no-one has the right to question it.) Such power is clearly dangerous, is open to abuse and is clearly being abused. Terrible suffering like mine would be totally prevented if medical and dental staff were accountable.


There can be nothing in this country more heinously unjust than the lack of help for the suffering victims of medical negligence. Patients have no protection whatsoever from the ignorance, incompetence, negligence and sometimes sheer malice of doctors and dentists. People who are not victims of the system are unaware of the situation. That negligent doctors and dentists incur neither censure nor sanction from the system ensures that negligence flourishes.

It is a moral imperative for caring people to do what they can to bring a speedy end to this cruelty.

The Complaints Procedure needs to be scrapped and replaced by a system providing immediate help for the victim of negligence (I don’t mean money; I mean remedial treatment and support) and an independent inquiry into the negligence with the purpose of apportioning responsibility and instituting reform to protect potential future victims. I stress that I am not interested in legal redress. I am asking for legislative action to remedy a national scandal.

The Health Ombudsman defines instances of medical negligence as matters of clinical judgment, and matters of clinical judgment, conveniently for negligent doctors and dentists, are outside his terms of reference. So he does not help. His reply to my letter made clear that he had given scant attention to my arduously compiled material. My evidence was ignored.

This state of affairs is independent of who the individuals are who become victims, being only dependent on the deficiencies of a system which allows the magic phrase ‘clinical judgment’ to override reason, humanity and justice. Clinical judgment cannot, by definition, obtain, where clinical diagnostic procedures have been waived. To pretend otherwise is an abuse of language, an abuse of trust, effectively an abuse of power and in practice a physical and psychological abuse of individual victims.

These abuses are systemic and must be rooted out. The powerless and suffering need protection from such cruelty.

There was a public inquiry about Wendy Savage, a doctor neither negligent nor incompetent, and about whom no patients had lodged complaints. There are no inquiries into real cases of negligence, initiated by the victims. Health professionals would be much more careful if their actions were to be subjected to public scrutiny.

Margaret Wilde

Vitamin D supplements may help to prevent type 2 diabetes

A New Zealand study has found that South Asian women with insulin resistance improved markedly after taking vitamin D supplements. Nutrition researcher Pamela von Hurst of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Albany, said while diet and exercise played a major part in the onset of type-2 diabetes, her findings reinforced the importance of vitamin D from the sun and supplements to prevent type-2 diabetes.
Read article at pharmacynews.com.au (Australia)

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Medical staff using dirty needles are infecting millions of Africans with HIV

The Telegraph reported that “One in five HIV sufferers in Africa was infected by medical staff using dirty needles and clinical equipment.” That is nearly five million new cases annually because of bad, crucially unhygienic practice. The research appears in a publication backed by the Royal Society of Medicine.

Africans are subject to a much higher proportion of injections and blood tests than patients in the West, according to a 1999 study for the World Health Organisation.

That research found that a wide range of common symptoms such as colds, ear infections, fatigue and tonsillitis were treated with injections rather than oral medication.

The study concluded that at least 50 per cent of these were unsafe, with needles being used repeatedly on one patient after another, without sterilisation.

I hope you are as horrified as I am. – It seems clear to me that Western medicine needs to get the hell out of Africa, where it is directly responsible for appalling suffering, disease and death on an unimaginable scale.

In my opinion, philanthropy as it is too often practised by Big Business – i.e. unloading a load of pharmaceutical drugs, sometimes drugs that contain live microbes – to be injected into Africa’s adults and children in less than hygienic circumstances, seems like the work of the devil incarnate!

The Constant Gardener, a book by John le Carré, has the harm done by Big Pharma to African citizens as its fictional theme, but although the detail in the book is fictitious, the reality of the harm done by pharmaceutical junk in Africa is actually worse. If you haven’t read the book or seen the film/DVD, I recommend you do so and have your eyes opened.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Swine Flu Conspiracy? There are close links between World Health Organization officials and drug companies over swine flu...

A British epidemiologist has said he is worried by close links between World Health Organization (WHO) officials and pharmaceutical companies over swine flu. Recent Danish media reports alleged that the WHO, which on June 11 declared swine flu a pandemic, has teamed up with pharmaceutical companies to create a scare and cash in on selling a remedy. In an interview with Russia's BFM.ru, Tom Jefferson, a scientist currently based in Rome, said that although he personally did not believe in plots, "I am a bit worried about what I have observed." He said WHO expert committees have "people with extensive ties to the industry or decision-makers who have explicitly kept on producing apocalyptic forecasts year in, year out."
Read article on the RIA Novosti website (Russia)

I share this scientist's concerns about the World Health Organisation.

What first caused YOU to gain weight? Prescription drugs? HRT? Pregnancy? Eating salty food as a child? Dieting?

What first caused YOU to gain weight? Prescription drugs? HRT? Pregnancy? Eating salty food as a child? Dieting? You are one of the unfortunate people who are 'sensitive to salt'. You are overweight because of fluid retention.

See vulnerable groups

Lose weight

Sodium in foods

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Children and Obesity


prescribed steroids and HRT

advice for pregnant mothers

http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/story.html - my 'political' page

See my website www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk
The site does not sell anything and has no banners or sponsors or adverts - just helpful information.

Glaxo Payments in Paxil Suits

GlaxoSmithKline Plc has paid almost $1 billion to resolve lawsuits over Paxil since it introduced the antidepressant in 1993, including about $390 million for suicides or attempted suicides said to be linked to the drug, according to court records and people familiar with the cases. As part of the total, Glaxo, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, so far has paid $200 million to settle Paxil addiction and birth-defect cases and $400 million to end antitrust, fraud and design claims, according to the people and court records.
Read article at bloomberg.com

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Danger to patients from poor prescribing by NHS doctors

10% patients are at risk from errors in prescriptions the Telegraph reports. "The mistakes included omitting drugs, wrong doses, not taking account of a patient's allergies, illegible handwriting or ambiguous orders." This dire statistic is attributed to inadequate training.

It beggars belief, doesn't it? - What do working doctors do most of the time? - You're right! - They hand out prescriptions! - Yet they are inadequately trained to do so and are putting the health of thousands of their patients at risk because of this! - And even the trainers themselves (See Professor at Teaching Hospital completely ignorant of the most common side-effects of prednisolone) are insecure in their knowledge of the side-effects of many commonly-prescribed, but potentially very dangerous drugs, including corticosteroids, HRT and antidepressants.

See amitriptyline

prescribed steroids and HRT

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Sodium in foods

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Depressing rise in antidepressant use in Scotland

The Telegraph reports a soaring increase in antidepressant use in Scotland. I consider this deplorable. Research has shown that antidepressants do not work, so why are doctors unaware of this and why are they continuing to prescribe drugs that do not work? - Drugs, furthermore, that frequently have unpleasant and harmful side-effects? - The tricyclic antidepressants, for instance, are a major cause of excessive weight gain, among a clutch of other adverse side-effects. The most frequently prescribed of the tricyclics is amitriptyline. As well as causing obesity and sometimes morbid obesity in both sexes, it can cause men to develop breasts/man-boobs/gynaecomastia. - You can read about some of the problems that amitriptyline causes HERE.

As well as increasing Scotland's high incidence of obesity therefore, we have Scotland's prescription drug bill rising even more, people's health being damaged needlessly, and people continually being encouraged to seek solutions to non-medical problems, e.g. unemployment and financial problems, in a pack of pharmaceutical pills - pills which, believe me, are far more likely to render them less employable, rather than more employable.

Non-drug therapies for depression include:

a walk in the country (recommended by MIND, the mental health charity) and

improving nutrition by avoiding dieting (a well-known cause of depression) and avoiding eating salt and salty food.

Doctors would be better employed checking the nutritional status of their patients and prescribing vitamins and minerals to address any deficiencies found. Vitamin and mineral supplements to those who need them cost less than pharmaceutical junk, and improve the health of the patients, rather than harming them, because remedying vitamin and mineral deficiencies has no adverse side-effects...(o:

It has repeatedly been reported that people in Scotland tend to be deficient in Vitamin D, mainly because of shortage of sunshine, so the doctors might like to bear that in mind, and to bear in mind that vitamin D deficiency has very serious consequences, one of which is bone fragility so that falls are more likely to lead to broken bones.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Calcium and Vitamin D may promote colorectal health

Supplements of calcium and vitamin D may promote the health of the cells in the colon and rectum, offering potential protection from tumour development, says new study, with findings published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

Is your health in a downward spiral because of constant, severe pain?

Obviously I cannot cure you. But I am sure that if you follow my advice you will feel a bit better.

You have been in pain for such a long time that the pain is now only a part of the problem. There are many other problems that have developed as a result of the pain.

Constant pain is very tiring; it takes away your energy and it disturbs your sleep. It makes you less able to take proper care of yourself. It naturally dominates your thoughts and you give less attention to your eating. The tiredness makes it harder for you to think of suitable meals and harder for you to prepare them, and the tiredness and pain sometimes make eating a chore rather than a pleasure.

Here are some of your extra problems:-

Insufficient food causes you to have even less energy and this leads to you bothering even less about proper meals and so you are on a downward spiral of less and less energy and less and less suitable food. You then get health problems caused by malnutrition. These may include anaemia, which could be helped by eating some red meat.

The tiredness, the anaemia, the pain and insufficient food lead to insufficient exercise. This inactivity, and the shortage of calcium and vitamin D all lead to some demineralisation of your bones, especially, perhaps, of the wrist bones and the spine. This makes it more possible for a fall to result in a fracture. So if you drink a pint of full cream milk a day (my personal opinion is that full cream milk is better for you than skimmed milk because it tastes nicer and it is more soothing) and try to to be a little more active, this will help to protect you from further avoidable bone-weakening. A very simple exercise that is good for wrist bones is to squeeze a rubber ball several times a day. If you haven’t a rubber ball I’m sure you can find something similar and softish to squeeze in this way.

Concentrate at the moment on food. Look on eating proper meals as the most important activity of your day. Think of it as your job. Even if you do nothing else, you must do that. Your body and your brain cannot serve you well if they have insufficient nourishment.

I think you would also find it helpful to get some multivitamin/multimineral tablets from Boots or Holland and Barrett or somewhere like that and to take whatever dose is recommended on the pack (do not take more than the recommended dose). They just have a bit of all the vitamins and all the minerals in them and it helps to prevent you from being short of any particular nutrient. Always take tablets with a good draught of water. Your appetite should improve as your nutrition improves.

With improved nutrition you will feel a lot better, and hopefully the pain will also be reduced. Most chronic pain is also reduced by eating less salt and salty food, if you can manage that.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Sodium Valproate (Epilim) Poses Risk of Major Birth Defects if Taken During Pregnancy

The FDA is updating the warning for the antimigraine and antiepileptic drug valproate sodium and related drugs, which include Depacon, Depakote, Depakene and Stavzor. Use during pregnancy can cause neural tube defects and other major birth defects. The agency released information for healthcare professionals on December 3, alerting them that women of childbearing age should be informed that the use of these drugs could cause a wide variety of birth defects.
Read article at aboutlawsuits.com (USA)

The Canadian Medical Association is being criticized for agreeing to accept funding from Pfizer to create continuing medical education programs

The Canadian Medical Association is being criticized for agreeing to accept $78,000 in funding from Pfizer’s Canadian subsidiary to create continuing medical education programs.
Read article at pharmalot.com

Poland under threat from GM crops

The Polish parliament has chosen December 15th 2009 for a debate and vote on the new 'GMO Act' that, if passed, will open the door for planting GM crops on Polish soil, based on EU standards that authorise co-existence between GM and non GM crops on a commercial scale.
Read action letter from the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC) at gmwatch.org

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Art, Politics and Polemic in the Pursuit of Justice and Truth

I should like in this essay to consider the difficulties of the writer holding strong political or other disputatious views and wanting to further them by means of his/her writing.

Propaganda versus Literature? Do they militate against each other? This was constantly asked of the 1930s poets: Spender, Day Lewis, Auden to some extent. (Some Art, surely, was the direct offspring of philosophical commitment, viz. the plays of the great religious festivals of ancient Greece from where the word ‘drama’ originates.) In the mid-19th century, Wesker’s plays attracted criticism as being too overtly propagandist. Certainly The Kitchen could be seen as a powerful argument against nuclear arms; but it was also an entertaining play with accurately observed social commentary. And I remember many years ago seeing Roots at the Sheffield Playhouse and being profoundly moved by Beattie’s discovery of herself, without at that time seeing it as a political play or knowing that it was part of a more political trilogy, or being aware of ‘the personal is political’ as an idea.

Writing that is expressly written with a propagandist intent is not, then, necessarily inferior as art though, of course, if the message is too crudely emphasised or the work itself merely a vehicle for the message, it will be flawed. One has only to think of the many, no doubt apocryphal, works of the kind: Joyfully Serving the State on a Collective Farm, worthy in aim but devoid of intrinsic interest or artistic merit. Certainly there are many novels successful as literature as well as polemical in intention.

The writer has problems of weighting in a particular direction. Will this damage his art? Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress was dogmatic in both tone and message, written by a convinced Christian, but this has not stopped it from becoming one of the most popular books ever written. While Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, of the 1950s, with its sombre, modern lack of belief in a loving God or a redemptive Saviour, is uproariously funny both to watch and to hear. In Bunyan’s book, the characters and the story-line hold our interest. In Beckett’s play there are visual comedy, witty dialogue and, constantly, the unexpected. It is perhaps only when the play has ended that we shudder at the bleakness of the godless vision, these shudders in turn being mediated by Beckett’s recurrent showing forth of human courage in the face of terrible adversity. Deliberate shaping has not damaged these two works. On the contrary.

Why did Harriet Beecher Stowe decide on a novel (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) as the form for her anti-slavery message? Here was a new society. The novel form arose with the new bourgoisie under modern capitalism. The middle class, who read novels, were a progressive, literate and broadening band. Many would have already read reformist ideas in Richardson’s Pamela, in Defoe, Fielding, Dickens, Thackeray, and in Godwin, the political reformer.

Writing in English was writing for the English-speaking/reading world and not just for America. Reformist zeal in Britain would be ready for Stowe’s message, and these zealots were the literate people who read novels. Many novels at that time were long, and in a long work the arguments could be fully expounded and all facets considered. It could be said that at that time ‘all’ novels had a moral message. Stowe’s had a wider, corporate, moral message.

Let us consider other forms available. Stowe had too much material really for a poem. What about a speech? Well, speeches are transitory and may well be given to an already prejudiced audience, and again, the speech would have to be dauntingly long for both speaker and hearers if it were to cover all the ground Stowe had to cover. A sermon would be heard by only a few and very probably an antipathetic few. Initially antipathetic readers of a novel may have their sympathies engaged as they are drawn into the story and identify with the emotions, thoughts and experiences of the characters.

What about a play? A play can certainly move its audience, although its effects may be more transitory than those of a novel. A play today could reach a huge audience on television but in those days it would reach comparatively few in the theatre. A novel had the potential to reach many. There is also a closer communion between reader and novel than there is between audience and play. The novelist creates a world for the reader who lives in a different world. The novel could be like a social documentary showing different points of view sympathetically (or unsympathetically, if the writer wanted to weight the scales).

I am not a gifted playwright or an outstanding novelist. I am not a powerful politician or an influential journalist or broadcaster. But I am, I reckon, an ardent polemicist and seeker after truth, justice, reform, and the prevention and alleviation of avoidable suffering. I seek in this blog, and on my website, to engage your interest and hopefully to move you to concern about the harm done by scandalously over-prescribed pharmaceutical drugs with poorly-understood, and often unacknowledged, adverse effects, by processed salt-laden, nutrition-deficient snacks and ready meals manufactured by a profit-driven food industry reckless of the damage to the health of their customers, and by dieting, and by medical doctors, too eager to prescribe more and more potentially harmful powerful drugs. The greatest scandal of all being the catastrophically wrong beliefs about the causes of obesity and the best ways to prevent or to reduce it being promulgated by the obesity and dieting ‘experts’. I hope you will consider helping me in my mission in whatever way you can.

Margaret Wilde © 2009

Friday, 11 December 2009

Supplement that may help avert dry age-related macular degeneration

The Telegraph reports that Harry Marsland, a retired optician, believes he is the first person in Britain to recover from dry age-related macular degeneration by taking a supplement containing lutein, found in spinach, zeaxanthin, the yellow pigment found in corn, and meso-zeaxanthin, derived from marigolds – called Macushield.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

More than 20% of children in England are starting school overweight or obese.

BBC News reports that more than 20% of children in England are starting school overweight or obese. There's unlikely to be any improvement in those figures, however, if the government agencies and obesity 'experts' keep on giving the wrong information and advice about the causes of obesity and the best ways to reduce it.

Child obesity is caused by eating salt and salty food because this results in fluid retention in the bloodstream, and the extra fluid (salt and water) in the bloodstream naturally weighs heavily and causes weight gain. Obesity is not caused by eating too much food or too much fat or by taking too little exercise, so forcing children to eat less/go hungry/take strenuous exercise will not help at all.

Cutting down drastically on salt and salty food, and eating unsalted food instead results in safe, rapid weight loss and feeling a lot better, and having a lot more energy very quickly indeed.

Don't let your children develop a taste for salty food. Eating salty food is very likely to set them on a lifetime course of being too heavy, too tired, very unhappy and with a lot of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and depression. They will not be able to achieve their full potential and their life chances will be fewer. Look on the labels and buy food with lower salt/sodium levels, or better still, cook fresh food from scratch and don't add salt to it. - Useful information is here: Sodium in foods

A fat child does not need to count calories and run away from butter and full cream milk...(o: - Just protect your child from salty food and watch him or her blossom into a healthier, happier child.

Children and Obesity

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Telegraph reports on study indicating that breastfeeding lowers risk of post-pregnancy metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease.

The Telegraph reports that breastfeeding lowers the risk of post-pregnancy metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease.

Also nursing mothers who breastfeed for longer are helping to prevent their baby from becoming obese. See Breastfeeding for longer helps to protect your baby from obesity

The main reason for this is that human breast milk is low in salt/sodium. Sodium is more harmful to children than to adults because of their small size, and it is particularly harmful to babies.

See Children and Obesity

and advice for pregnant mothers

Monday, 7 December 2009

Would targeting depression early prove helpful? - Not in my opinion.

BBC News reports that Ministers are saying that targeting depression early is the key to prevention. I can't say that I agree that that will prove successful. In my opinion continually talking about depression and referring to it as though it is a real disease, and as though there is agreement about what it constitutes, tends to lead vulnerable people to focus on the idea that that may be what their problem is. But depression is only a putative disease.

My personal opinion is that the best measures to take to reduce 'Depression', whatever anybody means by that slippery word, is to curb the use of the word in a medical context and concentrate instead on enabling people to eat good nutritious meals.

Dieting or fasting or so-called 'detoxing' or any other form of inadequate nutrition is a major cause of depression, tiredness, sad thoughts and all that syndrome of negativity. Unfortunately, the increasing incidence of obesity is accompanied by more and more pressure on overweight people to "eat less and exercise more". If this advice is taken by overweight people, especially if they are young and sensitive, then they will not lose weight. They will more likely gain weight because inadequate intake of food/calories/nutrients leads to increased fluid retention, which is actually the cause of excess weight gain and obesity. Then being more and more overweight makes most people feel more and more depressed and frustrated.

The government would be well advised to get the food industry drastically to lower the amount of salt/sodium it adds to its products: to do this not by exhortation and by slow increments, but to use the full power of the law. It is added salt that is the main cause of child obesity and is the means by which older fat people who are sensitive to salt usually keep gaining weight. The food industry has harmed the health of the nation for long enough. Their leaders should be taken to court and punished if they do not desist from what is effectively, poisoning, however slowly, the majority of their customers.

The other HUGE problem is the ever-growing numbers of drugs being prescribed. Many drugs, including cortico-steroids and HRT, anti-psychotics, NSAIDS, and, ironically, anti-depressants CAUSE salt sensitivity/weight gain/obesity/depression and a host of other health problems and this proliferation of reckless, inappropriate prescribing should be curbed, again, BY LAW.

Good nutrition is the best and safest medicine.

Lose weight, reduce your risk of most cancers, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, vascular dementia, stroke, osteopenia, osteoporosis, hypercholesterolaemia, depression, liver and kidney problems, boost your lung function and improve your health in many other ways without drugs, hunger or expense by eating less salt! - Try it!

See my website www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk
The site does not sell anything and has no banners or sponsors or adverts - just helpful information.

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Sodium in foods

http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/story.html - my 'political' page

http://www.wildeaboutsteroids.co.uk/socio.html - social and economic considerations


prescribed steroids and HRT

See advice for pregnant mothers

Children and Obesity

Associated health conditions


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Multi-billion pound NHS IT system may be cancelled.

BBC News reports that the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, is likely, in his forth-coming pre-Budget report, to axe the extremely expensive, problem-ridden NHS IT programme. - Well thank goodness for that!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

14 year old Ryan McLaughlin succeeds with his vitamin D campaign in Scotland

BBC News reports on the success of 14 year old Ryan McLaughlin, in drawing the attention of the Scottish government to the "urgent need" to provide information to all health professionals who work with pregnant women and young children about current guidance on vitamin D.

"Ryan became the face of a YouTube campaign to publicise the use of vitamin D, and led hundreds of supporters down Edinburgh's Royal Mile to Holyrood before he put his proposals to the petitions committee in June.

He told MSPs research into the genetic effect of vitamin D deficiency showed a link to the development of MS. Vitamin D, which the body needs for healthy, strong bones is largely gained through sunlight and food."

Living in Scotland tends to result in extreme Vitamin D deficiency because of chronic lack of sunlight. While deficiency in the UK is widespread the situation in Scotland is worse than for the rest of the country. Scotland receives 30-50% less ultraviolet radiation (UVB) from the sun than the rest of the UK owing to its high latitude and persistent low cloud cover.

Scotland is thought to have the highest rate of MS in the world.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Study finds Omega-3 in combination with Glucosamine is better for joint health

Combining omega-3 fatty acids with glucosamine achieves better improvements in joint health than glucosamine alone, says a new study from Germany. The study, published in the journal Advances in Therapy, is said to be the first clinical trial to employ the combination of glucosamine omega-3 fatty acids in people suffering from osteoarthritis.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

Thursday, 3 December 2009

After reading a very interesting article by John Kay about the undesirable outcomes that, in practice, tend to result from seeking Consensus

I came across this very interesting article by John Kay, about Consensus and the undesirable outcomes that, in practice, tend to result from seeking Consensus. I do urge you to read it. He summarises his thesis in these words:

"Just as universities need to tell people to stop quibbling and work towards a common objective, companies need to realise that clustering around a corporate conventional wisdom that has not been subject to analysis and debate is also not a recipe for success."

Earlier today, on Radio 4, I heard someone (sorry, I didn't catch who he was) speaking critically about Wikipedia, and, if I remember correctly, criticising it essentially for tending to move towards Consensus, rather than towards Truth. Like him, I favour Truth, backed up by Evidence, rather than Consensus, backed up by Assertion.

The Climate Change Science Scandal that has featured prominently in the news recently, rested in essence on one set of scientists, led by Professor Phil Jones, director of the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia, seeking to manipulate access to data and interpretation of data in order to bring more scientists to a consensus favouring his views, in the hope/expectation that consensus would be accepted as truth, even though the data had been doctored.

When I use the word 'doctored' in this context, I do so advisedly. - For many years, law courts and judgments were over-influenced by so-called 'expert' opinions expressed by 'expert' witnesses, in particular by 'expert' medical opinions. Such was the deference the judicial system accorded to these expert medics, that in practice the opinions they expressed were mostly accepted as evidence, rather than opinion. This institutional prejudice was compounded by what was called 'The Bolam Test', which was adopted by some other countries - former British colonies, I believe - as well as Britain.

A doctor, dentist, nurse, etc is deemed to owe "a duty of care" to the patients they treat. But when a doctor, say, was negligent in the way he treated his patient, according to the Bolam Test, it did not necessarily amount to negligence if support could be found for it among other members of his profession - even if there was not a lot of support.
This ruling meant in practice that a doctor accused of medical negligence needed only to find an expert who would testify to having done the same thing or would testify that he would have made the same diagnosis as the accused doctor.

Obviously this ruling was widely abused and there was no shortage of venal health professionals willing to testify in such a way as to favour a fellow member of their profession. - I remember when I was on the Steering Committee of the RSI Campaign that we had a young lawyer come to speak to us one evening and he told us that lawyers could always find a doctor to give any opinion their doctor client wanted to be given, provided they paid him enough.

This, of course, is disgraceful and unjust enough, but the Bolam Test spread its baleful tentacles into the clinical sphere, and has had the effect of increasing the incidence of medical negligence. Medical and dental practitioners regarded themselves as pretty safe from being found guilty of negligence because all they had to do when a patient made any charge or complaint of negligence against them was to ensure that colleagues in the profession would back them up in the course of action/inaction they had taken. This was easily achieved because there tends to be a feeling within their profession that "there but for the grace of God, go I", and a tendency to support erring colleagues in the profession, in the expectation that if you got into the same situation, your colleagues would similarly support you.

Thus it was that when I suffered sustained negligent and appallingly cruel treatment at the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital years ago, it proved almost impossible for me to get the treatment I desperately needed, despite seeing several dentists well able to have provided the treatment. See Fighting the System, my first Mensa article.

One of the negligent dentists, Stephen Hatt, Head of Restorative Dentistry, sneeringly invited me to write a letter of complaint about him. - "Much good it will do you!" he jeered, in complete confidence that nothing whatever would be done about his cruel treatment, which had caused me such long, agonising pain. And he was right. Nothing at all was done about the letter I arduously compiled and sent.

I talked about the matter to a young dentist from a different town long after this and asked him why it was that whenever I tried to get help from another dentist at that dreadful hospital, they scrupulously examined the notes about my treatment, instead of examining my teeth! He explained that the system was that they would all say that they would have made the same diagnosis as the negligent senior dental staff who had harmed me, and so that treatment would have been considered correct and they would not have been deemed to be at fault. - This is an example of the law of unintended consequences, and leads to the extraordinary probability that if ALL would have treated the patient badly, then NONE is considered negligent!

Officially the Bolam Test is no longer part of the legal process, but in practice its spirit lives on, and most health professionals do not worry much about getting into trouble about their poor treatment of a patient, because there remains the implicit assumption that doctors and dentists are altruistic, omniscient beings who do not make errors, or if they do, it is not their fault. You have only to remember the terrible harm done by the arrogant, ill-informed in the case of Sally Clark, and to realise that even now, despite all the tragic consequences of his flawed testimony, colleagues in his profession continue to defend him!

I remember reading years ago - I think it was in The Politics of Schizophrenia by David Hill - that the only time doctors/psychiatrists all agree on a psychiatric diagnosis is when they are all wrong...(o:

You will have gathered that I do not favour consensus as being a reliable guide to the truth of any belief. I look back on those two very famous errors of hundreds of years ago that held sway because of being the consensus view, namely that
1) the Earth is flat, and that
2) the Sun goes round the Earth.

I rest my case.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Some of the many beneficial rôles of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is being appreciated as "nature's antibiotic” as a string of recent discoveries about the multiple health benefits of this nutrient have come to the fore.
Right from the health of your immune system to prevention of heart disease and even vulnerability to influenza, vitamin D is now seen as one of the most critical nutrients for overall health. But it is also one of those most likely to be deficient – especially during winter when production of the "sunshine vitamin" almost grinds to a halt for people.
Read article in The Times of India

Few Universities File Required Conflict Of Interest Reports

Few universities file required reports to the National Institutes of Health about financial conflicts held by their researchers, and even when such conflicts are reported, universities rarely require researchers to eliminate or reduce conflicts, The New York Times reports. The paper writes that a report showing that 90 percent of universities relied solely on researchers to decide whether the money they made in consulting and other relationships with drug and device makers was relevant to their government-financed research (here is the report). Moreover, half of universities don’t ask faculty members to disclose the amount of money or stock made from drug and device makers, and so the report concludes that the potential for extensive conflicts with their government-financed research is often known only to the researchers themselves.
Read article at pharmalot.com