How we view disease, along with the constant bombardment of fear associated with HIV is cause for alarm. We must educate ourselves, those in the medical profession and our future doctors to address a broader understanding and treatment of disease. The fear and terror associated with HIV and the fact that the medical profession continues to contribute to fear is the first thing we need to overcome! Studies with healthy animals show that when subjected to constant fear and stress they surrender the will to live. Countless deaths of individuals infected with HIV can be attributed to fear. Telling people they are going to progress to disease and die, just because they have been infected with HIV is not true! Yet, these are the messages continually expressed by many in the medical profession.
Even with the latest drug treatments and decline in deaths, many in the medical profession still convey information to patients in a way that promotes fear. Patients are not recommended to take HIV drug treatments, but patients are told to take the drugs or they will progress to disease and die. Physicians should give test results and recommendations for possible interventions and treatments and should extend support without this negative dialogue. My concern is that doctors often provide no hope!
In 1985, I was told by an AIDS specialist to go home, inform my family, arrange my finances and funeral and that I had six months to live! Large numbers of individuals have been given this inhumane death sentence and this continues today! No one should be told he or she has six months to live! Many may give up and not pursue healthy initiatives since the situation was conveyed with less than a hopeful dialogue. Unfortunately, this does not occur just with HIV, but with many physicians who treat all types of illness. This negative dialogue has seriously impacted upon many lives emotionally.
Is it ethical in the diagnosis of disease, to give patients a probable life expectancy? Patients are given negative messaging by the medical profession and told they have six months to live or told there is nothing more that can be done! Health professionals should teach patients to take responsibility for their health and not to be victims! Physicians should assist patients to live! It is important to recognize an individual’s willpower. Many patients are told that they will die and do! Many others discover through their will and through the rediscovery of the purpose for being, the ability to live! Often, they live for much longer periods of time than predicted!
Individuals involved in first aid, paramedics, doctors and nurses in emergency rooms and hospitals, they all know first hand the importance to be calm and give patients confidence, avoiding panic and fear! This is equally important in a physician’s office and what physicians have been taught and trained to do! It is extremely important for physicians to convey test results and possible treatments accurately and without personal opinions, sarcasm, ridicule and fear tactics! Conveying all available treatments and means to provide help in a supportive and positive way!
When relaying information, doctors must presume that the patient does not have any previous knowledge of their problem. Explanations of test results or treatments should be given in a supportive tone, non-threatening, non-fatalistic and non-judgmental. The language and voice used to convey information is very important and a part of what we call a ‘bedside manner’. It is even more important to receive diagnostic information without personal opinions. Relaying information to a patient ensuring they understand as much as possible! NOT placing limitations on a patient's life! Making individuals aware of how much control they have over their lives. Consider to what extent information may undermine health and lack of purpose, as well as affecting or undermining other areas of a person's life. Many health professionals do nothing to eliminate stress and contribute to that stress in avoidable ways.
There are many people who are very much in touch with their bodies and know what is going on in their body. The medical profession can recognize this, rather than dismissing it entirely and relying only on medical knowledge and resources.
Ron Rosenes, a Board Member of the Canadian Treatment Action Council says, “One of the hallmarks of western or allopathic medicine is the belief, proven with microscopes in the 19th Century, that germs cause disease and that killing germs or in this case HIV virus, is the best way to restore health. CAM practices generally strive to promote healing by viewing the individual as a part of a larger framework that includes body, mind, spirit and environment.”
Many people who are in touch with their bodies have incorporated nutrition, exercise, controlling stress, herbal and dietary supplements, homeopathy and naturopathy, meditation, visualization and making plans for the future. All of which contributed to their well-being. Recognition of this by the medical profession is lacking. It has been my experience and that of others that insufficient attention is given to the patient who is aware of his or her health and body. When a patient includes alternative therapies in conjunction with medical resources, frequently physicians ignore anything other than the medical resources!
Dr. Jon Kaiser says, "Many physicians have little faith in the body's ability to heal and that is why they promote reliance on drugs.”
I was told the virus would kill me. Repeatedly, this is expressed to others and me, during discussions with physicians. Patients come out of doctors' offices and AIDS clinics teary eyed, faced with fear conveyed by physicians! However, I do not feel this is proper dialogue. This kind of dialogue does conjure up fear in most individuals, affecting them psychologically as well as physically. AIDS patients do not have to be hopeless, helpless and passive in the face of the illness!
We need to find better ways for providing health care and improving the quality
of life for people living with serious disease. We can recognize the influence
that our thoughts and emotions have on our health and the importance of holistic
therapies that nourish all aspects of being. Positive thinking, nutrition, exercise,
supplements and spiritual resources, all contribute to wellness and a longer life
span. All this, we should be able to discuss with health professionals, allowing
for a peace of mind and a quality of life not given by time allotted diagnosis.
I realize the difficulty in making change. However, I do believe we can all work
together in order to educate, ensuring proper information and awareness. I am
committed to doing everything I can in order to create awareness!
About the author:Article written by Bradford McIntyre, HIV+ 20 years
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