Is it forbidden for doctors to fraud with patients?
Alternative medicine is nothing more than fake news
Alternative medicine is to be "reserved" for doctors in the future, according to a draft law by the Ministry of Health. That also means: the family doctor could soon prescribe angel spray instead of ointment and send convalescent patients to return souls instead of to a cure. The pediatrician will discuss the aura of their indigo child with the spiritually sensitized parents instead of vaccinating them against polio.
A discussion about pseudomedicine is long overdue. But it will not be won by equipping doctors with a license to engage in charlatanism. A few suggestions for a necessary radicalization of the debate.
1. Science knows no alternative
The draft law on the professional profile of the doctor contains a contradiction in terms. If the medical task is defined as "any activity based on medical-scientific knowledge including complementary and alternative medical treatment methods", one can say right away: The doctor is committed to science, but he can also give a damn about it. "Alternative healing methods" shy away from scientific evidence like the devil shuns holy water. With the terms "complementary and alternative medicine" the legislator gives the carefully cultivated euphemisms of pseudomedicine and esoteric charlatanism access to practices and clinics. Even at the risk of having to feed the phrase pig, one obviously has to repeat it: If something works and heals it is medicine. Because it doesn't, it is not an "alternative" - it is pseudomedicine. And that has no place in the professional profile of the doctor. Regardless of whether there is a demand for it from the patient.
2. Alternative medicine practitioners should act as alternative practitioners
Let's just turn the tables. If pseudomedicine does not fit the profession of doctor, pseudomedicines have no right to be doctors. Homeopaths - to name an example - by definition do not act on the basis of science and evidence when medication with globules and the like. You are in better hands with the naturopaths trade than with the medical association. Thanks to the Chamber of Commerce, all sorts of fantasies receive commercial license. Of course, at first it is tough stuff for a doctor to be mentioned in the same breath as aura interpreters, Reiki practitioners and numerologists. On the other hand, fears of status are unfounded: The fee rates of savvy esoteric service providers are certainly in no way inferior to those of doctors. Homeopaths and other pseudomedicists are not supposed to be accused of refusing evidence-based medicine to their clients as alternative practitioners across the board. As scientifically trained people, they can and will refer seriously ill patients to doctors at any time and suggest therapies and drug treatments - probably no more and no less than has been the case up to now.
3. No quackery, no quackery
If the legislature and the medical associations take science seriously, they would have to nail their heads when it comes to alternative medicine. The bill is the opposite of that: it is a vague fraternization with Harry Potter practices on the pretext that you do magic yourself more responsibly than the young students at Hogwarts. There are penalties for energetic people who poach as "healers" in the rightly protected profession of medicine and cross the boundaries of the art of healing. "Kurpfuscherei" is forbidden to energetics, it is therefore logical to forbid doctors "Heilpfuscherei" aka alternative medicine.
4. Let's talk about rampant madness
In Germany, the esoteric market with pseudomedicine, angel sprays, karma sessions, water revitalization and the associated merchandising stuff has a turnover of 20 billion euros - that is almost the value of spending on alcohol. Something similar can be applied to Austria. So we don't just have a drinking problem, but a serious esoteric problem. The fact that more and more people succumb to irrationality, supposed spirituality and all sorts of promises and bringers of salvation should not serve as a guideline for responsible politics. Giving a beer to an alcoholic in withdrawal may relax the situation, but it is not good at solving problems. Esotericism and charlatanism - and this includes alternative medicine - are an attack on reason, honest argumentation and rational dispute. These are also basics for an enlightened society and a lived democracy. Alternative medicine is nothing more than fake news for science. A distinguished attitude towards her is appropriate. (Christian Kreil, October 24, 2018)
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