"...we're correcting you. XOXO Science."
July 15, 2017 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Dr. Jen Gunter is an MD who is a board-certified OB/GYN and also an active blogger. She recently took on Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop empire in a blog post where she examined a number of its fraudulent medical claims, citing concern for how, when taken seriously, these claims can negatively affect her patients. In a follow-up post, Gunter has called their response to her science-based criticism "a mansplaining, misogynistic hit job."

From Gunter's response to GOOP's criticism:

The editors at GOOP find me “strangely confident” in my “assertion that putting a crystal in your vagina for pelvic-floor strengthening exercises would put you in danger of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome—even though there is no study/case/report which links the two.” I am not strangely confident about vaginal health, I am appropriately confident because I am the expert. I did 4 years of medical school, a 5 year OB/GYN residency, a 1 year fellowship in infectious diseases, I am board certified in OB/GYN in 2 countries, I am board certified by the American Board of Pain Medicine and the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Pain Medicine and I am appropriately styled Dr. Jen Gunter MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM, ABPM (pain). A woman with no medical training who tells women to walk around with a jade egg in their vaginas all day, a jade egg that they can recharge with the energy of the moon no less, is the strangely confident one.

"This stuff matters. We need less goopy nonsense and more fearless, blunt and science-informed debunkers such as Dr. Gunter."

Dr. Jen Gunter, previously.
posted by mandolin conspiracy (92 comments total) 90 users marked this as a favorite
 
"This JISM appears to be nothing more than a glorified syllabus that is available only to conference attendees."

Even in context, this is hilarious.
posted by hippybear at 12:03 PM on July 15 [36 favorites]


Crack-pot holistic medicine killed my aunt. She was college educated, funny and caring. She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and rather than undergo a mastectomy, chemo and radiation she listened to a loon who instructed her to rub black salve on her breast. Her oncologist begged her to have the mastectomy and she ignored him. She literally signed a document that stated she was releasing him of any liability. She died a little more than 12 months later. Her cancer was survivable yet she ignored her doctor's advice and she's dead. She left a husband who is lost without her and a daughter that regularly posts to social media how much she misses her mother.

Fuck Gwinnett Paltrow and fuck Goop. I wish nothing but bad things for her and her panel of charlatans.
posted by photoslob at 12:24 PM on July 15 [136 favorites]


Kudos to Dr. Gunter - a great writer, smart doctor and much-needed voice of reason. I particularly loved these quotes:
The editors at GOOP find me “strangely confident” in my “assertion that putting a crystal in your vagina for pelvic-floor strengthening exercises would put you in danger of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome—even though there is no study/case/report which links the two.” I am not strangely confident about vaginal health, I am appropriately confident because I am the expert.
and
This assertion that jade eggs are safe because there is no reported case of toxic shock syndrome is not even acceptable for a grade 4 science fair project. The incidence of menstrual toxic shock syndrome is 1-2/100,000 so it would take a lot of jade egg wearing (meaning the kind of sales that bring tears to eyes of the team at GOOP) to get enough data. However, luckily I am an expert and I know basic science so can form a highly educated expert opinion.
posted by borborygmi at 12:25 PM on July 15 [41 favorites]


And who are we kidding? Goop isn’t a benevolent aggregator of health information. It is a for-profit company seeking to move product. In fact, Ms. Paltrow admitted on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that she doesn’t know “WTF” (throwing down her own f-bomb) they talk about on Goop.
They should be sued into the medieval era from whence their shit snake oil originates. Good for Dr. Jen Gunter for calling this shit out.

Probably my favorite line to sum up why GOOP should be dismantled:
*May 24, 2017: Correction, this post has been updated to reflect the fact that GOOP claims the energy of jade eggs is recharged by the moon and not the sun.
That is not a conversation we should need to have in 2017.
posted by mordax at 12:27 PM on July 15 [72 favorites]


Goddamn hippy Info Wars.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on July 15 [15 favorites]


Hey hey! Don't bring me into this!
posted by hippybear at 12:34 PM on July 15 [22 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest's comment is situations like this is always apropos.
posted by lalochezia at 12:34 PM on July 15 [11 favorites]


I won't rest until our energy grid fully switches over to lunar-powered vagina rocks.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 12:34 PM on July 15 [29 favorites]


Even the moon gets its energy from the sun, so those jade eggs do in fact get their energy from the sun. Dr Gunter was right in the first place. QE fucking D.
posted by adamrice at 12:44 PM on July 15 [19 favorites]


it is also possible that they think I am an easy target because I am just a chick with a blog as opposed to a man with a blog or a reporter with a national or even international reach or a talk show host who can leverage writers, a PR team and an audience of millions. In short, is it because they think they can bully me?
BINGO
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:45 PM on July 15 [38 favorites]


Conversation overheard at the gym from a woman who is into New Age Woo: "my husband had cancer, and we spent thousands of dollars on supplements. He did die anyhow, but I am sure he lived much longer because of the supplements. " Yikes! Even death can't shake the faith of a true believer. This woman still takes tons of supplements every day.

Good for Dr. Jen Gunter for trying to fight this pernicious crap. " Shove a jade egg up your vagina" sounds like a nasty insult, not a cure for anything.
posted by mermayd at 12:52 PM on July 15 [10 favorites]


This is how women talk in private about stuff, I'm so glad it's making its way into the public sphere more and more. Blunt, honest talk is my favorite kind of talk.
posted by fshgrl at 12:55 PM on July 15 [7 favorites]


Even the moon gets its energy from the sun, so those jade eggs do in fact get their energy from the sun.

So many assumptions about GOOP cosmology...
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Out of morbid curiosity I checked out the comments on Goop's post on Twitter and Facebook - of course there's a fair amount of "rah rah" goop boosterism but I was pleased to see a lot of criticism of their pseudoscience.

Of course goop will move to protect their bottom line. But it drives me crazy there are so many customers willing to help and defend the cynical corporation that's taking their money. Just goes to show, whether it's Fox News or new age scammers, people will do a lot to protect the way these companies make them feel - no matter how much it hurts their other interests.
posted by borborygmi at 1:00 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Even the moon gets its energy from the sun, so those jade eggs do in fact get their energy from the sun.

Reminds me of that Coke exec who told congress his product was healthy because it has water in it and everyone needs water to survive.
posted by dobbs at 1:01 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


You see, the sun that is reflected off the moon has its energy changed because the moon is constantly changing, and this reflects a woman's cycle and that's why moon energy and not sun energy is what charges jade eggs that you carry around in your vagina for no real reason other than because a movie star told you to.

I know, there are about 2 weeks a month where it's more difficult to charge your moon energy vagina eggs because the moon is barely there, but if you just keep them in your vagina and walk around at night you can be confident that even on the night of a new moon your vagina rock is being recharged because there are special frequencies of light being reflected off the new moon that will penetrate your body and charge your vagina rock.

Really, don't ever take it out. Make sure to walk around outside at night, preferably naked, because fabric will block those special moon rays.



I mean, look, I lived in Sedona, AZ in the late 90s. I know how far this woo can extend. I've lived the nightmare.
posted by hippybear at 1:01 PM on July 15 [17 favorites]


I used to follow Dr. Gunter on Twitter but I had to stop because she talks about these eggs so much, as she should, but the mental imagery for me is so unpleasant it borders on physically painful. It'd be like if some quack started advising on the benefits of being kicked in the balls twice a day.
posted by bleep at 1:09 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


It aerates the seminal vessels!
posted by Artw at 1:11 PM on July 15 [15 favorites]


Good grief. I knew Goop existed, and I knew some people despised it, but I misunderstood why. What a bunch of shitheels.

I'd like to think that competent sex-ed for adolescents would do a lot to combat this, but the people I know who are most susceptible to this sort of junk are, on paper, very well educated.

I guess the woo has some emotional or intuitive appeal that straightforward debunking doesn't acknowledge or engage with. I hope Dr. Gunter keeps up the good fight and I wish her great success. I wonder what big-picture, long-view stratagem we're all missing, though.

Is this sort of woo less popular in actual First-World countries where access to real medical experts isn't such an expensive, inconvenient time-sink?
posted by Western Infidels at 1:22 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Is there a battery powered jade egg? My wife wants to know for a friend...
posted by jim in austin at 1:26 PM on July 15 [12 favorites]


Naturally, if there was a study linking jade vaginal eggs to TSS, it would just be Big Medicine trying to scare you from a natural remedy.
posted by hwyengr at 1:29 PM on July 15 [14 favorites]




Thought that was going to be, "Birdhouse In Your Soul." yuk yuk
posted by rhizome at 1:52 PM on July 15


That was a FUCKING awesome response letter.
posted by chococat at 1:57 PM on July 15 [7 favorites]


This was the perfect mix of expertise, indignation, and savage attacking of bullshit pseudoscientific woo.

I think my tiny heart might burst.
posted by erinfern at 2:04 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Combine this with the fact that GOOP and Alex Jones are selling the same products on their respective websites with different packaging, and I think we already know how health-necessary these items are.

I mean, HOW DID WOMEN SURVIVE ALL THESE MILLENNIA WITHOUT KNOWING ABOUT MOON POWERED JADE VAGINA EGGS???

If they were that valuable, we would have heard about them before now.
posted by hippybear at 2:09 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Agh. A woman I work with is in the middle of treatment for breast cancer (they caught it early, her prognosis is good). Anyway, she has a friend who came over to give her "vortex therapy" (some flavor of woo, I ain't looking it up, it involves crystals). And my friend, who is not a woo type, was confused, because this woman is someone she respects. Highly educated, degrees, and yet...believing in woo.

My friend is not going to stop getting her medical treatment so there is no harm being done, but at the same time, I wonder if i should say something because yeah, eventually people die from this shit. Probably not my place to say.

My mother-in-law also got into the whole colloidal silver thing, but she stopped when it did nothing, for which I was thankful.

I think woo preys upon the gap between what medicine can do and what it can't. Not everyone who gets treated beats cancer. Not everyone who is healthy avoids heart attacks. There are lots of things that can go undetected until it's too late. Woo promises to fill in that gap. Which I almost wouldn't mind, except for when its actually dangerous or people choose it over effective treatments.
posted by emjaybee at 2:09 PM on July 15 [10 favorites]


Look, when it comes to things like cancer treatment, I can't speak for whether the woo works directly, but for some cancer patients having a woo treatment like a vortex therapy changes their attitude toward their treatment which I understand can help set off internal processes which help the cancer treatment. Placebo effect entirely, but not to be counted out.

If you aren't the woo type, then vortex therapy (going back to Sedona, jeebus) won't help. If you are the woo type, it won't hurt, and might help.

Obviously you aren't the vortex therapy type. Some are, and some percentage of those it will help.

It's total woo, obviously, but sometimes sugar pills cure illness too.
posted by hippybear at 2:13 PM on July 15 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, carrying around a jade egg in your vagina all day can have actual serious medical consequences.

I'm old enough to remember when TSS was all over the news a few decades ago. Women died.

Of course, Paltrow has enough money to pay lawyers to make any deaths from jade egg TSS disappear from public memory.
posted by hippybear at 2:15 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


And some things, like aromatherapy are considered woo, but do have practical use in actual medical modalities. Example, it is used in maternity wards in the uk, to assist in relaxation. But no practitioner is out there suggesting that c-sections should be performed while a woman sniffs a sachet of lavender.

Massage and essential oils, and whatever helps a patient cope with difficult medical conditions is fantastic, but it cannot and should not be a replacement for actual medical care.

Gwenyth Paltrow, in a just universe, reaps the karma for the damage she does.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 2:32 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Dr. Jen Gunter MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM, ABPM (pain).

I would be afraid that somebody with that set of credentials could possibly banish me to the Dimension of Agony with a brusque word.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:41 PM on July 15 [20 favorites]


Thank goodness Dr Gunter exists in the world! Too bad that she has to fight these ridiculous fights.
posted by honey badger at 2:44 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


My friend is not going to stop getting her medical treatment so there is no harm being done, but at the same time, I wonder if i should say something because yeah, eventually people die from this shit.

I'm sort of in the opposite spot from hippybear on this one - while the placebo effect can be helpful, I feel like 'innocent' situations like this are what keep the whole woo industry going. Most of their customers aren't harmed, so there's a huge unregulated market for stuff that does kill at least some people because it only mostly doesn't.

IMO, every dollar in their pocket is a dollar too many, and I think it's better to push back against woo whenever you reasonably can. (I can't speak to whether your coworker situation is one of those times, I just always err on the side of 'call it out.')
posted by mordax at 2:56 PM on July 15 [23 favorites]


Anyone who's bees seriously ill can tell you that western medicine is not very empirical or science based. It's practitioner based and there are few actual empirical diagnostic methods (not tools) in reality in use. Most doctors just use their personal judgement and a significant number of doctors are either hammers to whom everything is a nail or are total fucking kooks themselves. So I can see why people can't tell the difference between woo and medicine easily. There is one but many people are not educated enough, familiar enough with the background or plain not smart enough to discern it.

What we really need are better diagnostic procedures for medicine. After my own little foray into the world of modern medicine I'm thinking of working on developing some. I've discussed with doctors what they don't like about what's available and it's pretty shocking how much of "diagnostic" medicine is pre conceived notions, diseases they have themselves or know a lot about for some reason or googling stuff.

It's easy to see why people have a hard time with stuff like goop. Same reason they vote for Trump- a lack of rational thought.
posted by fshgrl at 2:57 PM on July 15 [17 favorites]


I think the reason a lot of this stuff flourishes in America is because of the general atmosphere of mistrust of doctors and the process of medicine in general, something that has been exacerbated by our batshit insane for-profit health care system. Anu Partanen's awesome book The Nordic Theory of Everything digs into that a bit. In a 2014 New England Journal of Medicine article about medicine and public trust, Blandon et al. report that "the level of public trust in physicians as a group in the United States ranks near the bottom of trust levels in the 29 industrialized countries surveyed by the ISSP." They do also speculate that "Part of the difference may be related to the lack of a universal health care system in the United States. However, the countries near the top of the international trust rankings and those near the bottom have varied coverage systems, so the absence of a universal system seems unlikely to be the dominant factor."
Still, one can't help but notice that vast majority of the places with high physician trust have some form of universal health care or single-payer health care system.

I too know of ostensibly intelligent people who do stupid shit like refuse vaccines for their children, drink unpasteurized milk, and shove magic crystal eggs up their twats. The Right definitely doesn't have the lock on dumbassery.
posted by SinAesthetic at 3:07 PM on July 15 [10 favorites]


What about men? What are they supposed to shove up their.... their.... oh, never mind.
posted by SteveLaudig at 3:10 PM on July 15


What we really need are better diagnostic procedures for medicine.

Isn't that what one of the main goals was with IBM creating Watson? Better medical diagnosis?
posted by hippybear at 3:14 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


I think the reason a lot of this stuff flourishes in America is because of the general atmosphere of mistrust of doctors and the process of medicine in general, something that has been exacerbated by our batshit insane for-profit health care system.

I think so too. I think this comes down to this in a lot of cases:

Let's say I've got a pain in my side. If I go to see the doctor, some of the most important possible outcomes are:
A) This is nothing, but I have to pay them a bunch of money I don't have anyway.
B) This is something, but they can't really help and I have to pay them a bunch of money anyway.
C) This is something and they can help, but I have to pay them a bunch of money.

In only one of those outcomes do I come out ahead, and only if I value being free of pain more than the money, which I probably cannot know ahead of time because it is super rare to know what the hospital will bill you before you walk in.

In two out of three possible branches from that node, I'm actively worse off. This is how I only talk to the doctor if I'm sure I need to.

I know enough about alternative medicine that I'm aware it is simply *not going to work*, and I consider it profiteering off of human misery to boot. But if I didn't, the temptation would be to go: 'this GOOP brand snake oil has the same possible set of consequences, but it only costs $66 for a jade egg to shove inside my body vs. thousands of dollars for $_ExpensiveProcedure, so the egg is the rational first step to try, and we'll do the other thing if things get worse.'

And that's how this happens, IMO. I do think it would still happen if we had a single payer system because people would regard alternative medicine as a supplement to the real thing, ('it's only $66 and it MIGHT help even though I'm getting $_CoveredProcedure!'), but I do think it would be less prevalent.
posted by mordax at 3:24 PM on July 15 [43 favorites]


Fuck Gwinnett Paltrow and fuck Goop. I wish nothing but bad things for her and her panel of charlatans.

They should be forced to use their touted products. Exclusively. Forced!
posted by Splunge at 3:47 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


Sometimes an egg is just an egg .
posted by hortense at 3:54 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


What I don't get is how people can say that doctors are snake oil salesman for recommending, say, chemotherapy, but those same people will fall all over themselves to get some $100 copper bracelet that will "cure" their cancer.

Anyone who's bees seriously ill can tell you that western medicine is not very empirical or science based. It's practitioner based and there are few actual empirical diagnostic methods (not tools) in reality in use. Most doctors just use their personal judgement and a significant number of doctors are either hammers to whom everything is a nail or are total fucking kooks themselves.

OK, yes, I'm biased here, being a doctor and all, but I can assure you that medicine, as practiced in the West, is heavily empirical and science-based. Before I was allowed to touch a patient, I had to prove, to the satisfaction of the various authorities, that I understood scientific reasoning, how to read and conduct a scientific study (and what the various levels of evidence mean); I also had to excel in related areas like psychology, sociology, and public health. This year is the first since 2005 that I haven't had to take an expensive scientific exam or other (MCAT, NBME shelf exams, four USMLE exams, yearly residency exams, board exam; I'm of course excluding all the regular college and med school exams). Instead, I have to maintain certification by doing several hours of continuing scientific education a year (varies by state, mine requires 100 hours per two year period, also 90 hours per three year period for my subspecialty). That's the bare minimum scientific knowledge it takes to become a doctor in the West.

Yes, people respond to therapy in different ways (e.g. genetics, for instance, or interactions with other medications taken). There is a whole lot we are still trying to figure out about how the body works, and what happens when it doesn't. And yes, there are some doctors who seem to be making it up, or who have blinders on, or who are trying to sell a product or a service. It sounds like you've had a lot of interactions with people like that, for which I'm truly sorry. But most doctors use scientific reasoning almost exclusively (in fact, I'd say that creative reasoning isn't emphasized as much as it probably should be); pretending like we don't only makes it easier for the Woo salesmen to act like they are a viable equivalent to actual medical care.
posted by basalganglia at 3:55 PM on July 15 [66 favorites]


You have to prove all that to be a doctor but you don't have to do any of that once you're actually practicing. There are tons of stories just here on the Blue from people who go to the doctor and can't get treatment because the doctor thinks they're too fat, or they're making it up, and that's it, they're stuck. Actually getting treatment once you're sick is 100% dependent on if the doctor you're seeing sees fit to prescribe anything, and often they don't. Ask me how I know.
posted by bleep at 4:04 PM on July 15 [30 favorites]


My patients that feel a certainty over the notion that candida is running riot in their veins, or have some unusual subtype of celiac that can't be diagnosed on a biopsy, or know -know- that their thyroid function is not capable of being assayed by conventional or for that matter any means, are not people that have had a bad experience with medicine. So far they just seem to want convenient answers and chafe at any effort to understand basic science. Mostly they have personality disorders. I'm grateful for the existence of naturopaths. If I actually had to try to care for these people I would blow my brains out. Too many people with actual needs are going unserved to waste time on this nonsense. Goop is like a medical Disneyland that siphons the idiots into easily avoidable locales so the rest of society can actually get something done.
posted by docpops at 4:12 PM on July 15 [25 favorites]


docpops do you actually mean to make people dislike doctors more with your every comment or is it just a side effect.
posted by winna at 4:19 PM on July 15 [33 favorites]


I think that, at this rate, we're going to need a “cray-cray in the vajayjay” tag for posts like this one.
posted by acb at 4:27 PM on July 15 [5 favorites]


docpops do you actually mean to make people dislike doctors more with your every comment or is it just a side effect.
posted by winna at 4:19 PM on July 15 [+] [!]

I have no illusions that people distrust or despise doctors and am not here to win them over. I'm incredibly proud of the work we do in medicine and have worked, over almost thirty years, with some absolutely amazing people, every one of whom cared deeply about the people they saw in their practices. I also met some really baffling weird and sometimes dangerous people who never should have been allowed to practice, but they have been very rare. Metafilter's axe-grinding against doctors isn't any secret. But our time with patients is increasingly scarce, especially in primary care, and all too often a person shows up after burning through multiple prior physicians under the guise of not being listened to simply because we can't or won't participate in their dangerous fantasies. If anyone wants to conflate that with their own bad doctor experiences and feel offended that's their business. If Goop didn't exist then another site or sites would absorb their traffic with something equally moronic. I promise you a diabetic mother of three on Medicaid with depression and chronic pain isn't worried about getting a vaginal Jade pessary. They need more help and time than we can give but I'll show up to work every day ready to try my damndest to make their life a little less shitty.
posted by docpops at 4:29 PM on July 15 [32 favorites]


The science of medicine is obviously empirical and science based. Medical research is. The development of diagnostic tools is also science based. The practice of diagnostics is not at all though. They fucking guess. I sat with my doctor, who is a trained emergency medicine doctor originally, and asked why they didn't have decision making tools and he said they exist but they kind of suck and we talked about it some then I researched quite a bit more. It's a totally neglected area. Probably because doctors don't want to have to follow set protocols for diagnosing and only do it if insurance companies make them. And they run the process down to their patients too so the patients are being told that the best practice for diagnosis is a smart person guessing and everything else is "jumping through hoops". Doctors also practice the "take two aspirin and come back of you're not better" model still which is extremely detrimental in these days of high deductibles. If I'm your office I'm SICK, not anxious, not looking for attention or wasting your time. Which is the default assumption. I have two friends who died in the past year because their only symptoms prior to sudden death were tiredness and feeling run down and the doctors made them feel bad for coming in and downplayed their concerns. If it's $350 every time you go you'll be inclined to buy that.
posted by fshgrl at 4:32 PM on July 15 [22 favorites]


but for some cancer patients having a woo treatment like a vortex therapy changes their attitude toward their treatment

I would be a little wary promulgating this view. Firstly, it's wrong: There's no scientific proof that a positive attitude gives you an advantage in cancer treatment or improves your chance of being cured.

Secondly, it's a bit of a discourse that can put another burden on cancer sufferers that they need to "perform" cancer a certain way, or they are not maximising their treatment.

Thirdly, whilst "what's the harm" is easy to say, it's a lot harder to prove, and lots of alternative medicines can have negative interactions.

Finally, and this is just me and a little gung ho, but I kind of feel like "what's the harm" also legitimises the idea of untested medicines as a whole, positing them as part of a legitimate treatment spectrum, and I feel uncomfortable about that.
posted by smoke at 6:26 PM on July 15 [29 favorites]


It's hard to talk about medicine because patients are both individuals and statistics. Ask Metafilter is a perfect example of of all these anecdotal horror stories about shitty doctors. It's a combination of availability bias and negativity bias. The bad stories get told. The perfectly fine interactions don't. For the most part, doctors are some of the best and brightest of humanity.

While reading When Breath Becomes Air, I became so angry at the folks who deny the validity of traditional cancer research. This is the best we have, and the people who are experts know it's the best we have. There is no secret that THEY are keeping from us. The arrogance of people who state that science-based medicine is a hoax while peddling snake oil is an especially odious form of evil. Yes, modern medicine has room for improvement, yes we could focus more on quality of life, but things are moving forward because of science. The shitbags selling jade vaginal eggs are the antithesis of progress. Things would never improve if they had more influence.


Ranjana Srivastava writes:

Oncologists and alternative health practitioners move in different spheres though plenty of evidence suggests we end up looking after the same patients. When I discover (usually belatedly) that my patient endured the broken promise of an unproven cure, I feel dejected. The more expensive, extreme or exotic the treatment the messier seems the ending...

But the point of many alternative therapies seems to be in their secret powers of healing. I know it’s often said but I honestly don’t consider arrogance a good explanation for why oncologists and alternative practitioners don’t talk. I would, however, say that dismay and distrust feature heavily. As does the troubling realisation that a doctor can face reprimand for inadvertent error but an alternative practitioner can get away with intentional harm.

This is not a reason to excuse the former but to regulate the latter. Perhaps this would make it easier to follow the advice that doctors need to familiarise themselves with the various forms of complementary and alternative medicines. It is conceivable that some worthwhile measures are tainted by the same brush as a lot of fraudulent ones.

Health literacy moves at a very slow pace. The alternative health industry, worth many billions of dollars, marches briskly. It will always attract unguarded patients who will cling to the faintest promise of recovery without associated harm.


If you think something worked for you, great. I'm glad that paleo, gluten free, high protein, vegan, sacral-cranial, crystal, ayurvedic, homeopathic suppository cured your eczema. People should have the right to do what they want. I believe lots of things about my diet that very well might not be true. This does not make you an expert; nor should you be denigrating real doctors.

I'm sorry if what docpops said is offensive to you, but we have limited time and resources. Medicine is triage on a huge scale. We have tens of thousands of our best people trying their best and scum bags like Gwyneth Paltrow are muddying the waters and causing real harm and spreading disinformation. If medical practitioners get a bit snippy from time to time, imagine how you'd feel. What if you were at the top of your field and people constantly tried to contradict you because the the David Avocado Wolf of accounting was constantly telling people to rub crystals on their tax forms instead of filling them out? What if holistic fire fighters went around telling people they could reiki out house fires? Fake computer programmers who just cut and paste "OM" over and over again instead of writing viable code?

Why do we allow this in medicine when it wouldn't stand the light of day in other professions?
posted by Telf at 7:38 PM on July 15 [47 favorites]


One thing often missing from these discussions (though I believe my eyes were open to it here on Metafilter) is that a lot of GOOP and other woo "medicine" directed at and consumed by women is due to just how terribly mainstream medicine treats women. Concerns are dismissed at higher rates, real illnesses treated as all in your head. Weight and diet issues seen as moral failings and not possible medical issues. I'm 100% on board with evidence based medicine, but as someone who chased a mystery ailment and waisted far too many doctors time, we eventually did find the issue and, once it was treated, holy hell, I'm 90% better. But it too many doctors not believing me to get to the thoracic hernation fucking up my shit because it was rare. I do believe my gender played a large part in the slow ass diagnoses and misdiagnosis.

But that's my personal story. There have been many studies, as well as many stories on the blue that discuss the poor outcomes and dismissive treatement of women in the medical system. Hell, we are only recently requiring model animals to include female mice.

Many women see the lives experience of being mistreated, dismissed, and unheard by their doctors and turn to what they think they can do to help themselves. Unfortunately that is where bullshit like GOOP thrives. But it doesn't spring up in a vacuum.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:51 PM on July 15 [57 favorites]


. What if you were at the top of your field and people constantly tried to contradict you because the the David Avocado Wolf of accounting was constantly telling people to rub crystals on their tax forms instead of filling them out?

oh! you mean like every single one of us in the social sciences and the humanities? yes, it is annoying as hell but you get used to it as a philosopher (for example), even though, yes, people are killed and society is endlessly crumbling around us because nobody ever thinks to ask an ethicist literally anything ever. I think American society has a problem with expertise in general, for good reasons and bad. Experts are dicks sometimes, we don't always do a good job explaining things, and we can be shockingly blind to personal experience which stands in contradiction to our educated opinion. This is deeper than just medicine in any case.
posted by zinful at 7:58 PM on July 15 [14 favorites]


I don't know how you manage to graduate medical school without learning that jade vagina eggs derive their power from the moon.

STUPIDS!
posted by dr_dank at 8:32 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


that a lot of GOOP and other woo "medicine" directed at and consumed by women is due to just how terribly mainstream medicine treats women

I've had this happen to me - it was suggested that the debilitating migraines that were ruining my life were treated as psychosomatic by quite a few doctors. One doctor even suggested that my mother punish me for missing school.

But, but, but ...

I think that an ever bigger thing is that the pressure to engage in "wellness" - and what type of "wellness" - itself is gendered. Women's bodies are imbued with a moral weight that men's bodies are not. Performing elaborate routines to preserve our bodies' youth, fitness, and attractiveness is marketed to us as empowering "self-care."

And the food we eat! It's a short hop from a moralizing sorting of foods into "good" and "bad" categories, to imbuing these categories with pseudoscientific or spiritual significance.

Toxins! YOU ARE IMPURE!

Sure, men also face pressures and also buy into crap. But it seems to me that a lot of the type of "wellness" branding of GOOP-like businessesis a direct outgrowth of the pressure for women to have perfect goddess bodies and perfect goddess brains - to make themselves better for consumption through consumption.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:36 PM on July 15 [23 favorites]


I don't think anyone is actually defending GOOP and fake medicine bullshit but it wouldn't get anywhere if there wasn't a market for it, and there is a market for it because medicine treats a lot of people like shit.
posted by bleep at 8:53 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


To Dr. Gundry I say you are a textbook mansplainer. Your letter to me and your picture should really appear on the Wikipedia page for mansplaining. I have dealt with surgeons like you throughout my training, you didn’t bother me then and you don’t bother me now. I will not read your book, but I will be happy to read your research when it makes it to JAMA or NEJM or BMJ.
Daaaaaaaayum. That's a hell of a burn.
posted by biogeo at 8:57 PM on July 15 [16 favorites]


Why do we allow this in medicine when it wouldn't stand the light of day in other professions?

Broadly, I agree with zinful that the problem of anti-intellectualism is a deep and abiding one in US culture and could point to many instances of it outside of medicine.

I do think medicine's a hotbed of it for a few reasons though.

First up, the affected population is 'everybody.' *Everyone* needs medical care at some point. There's not a person alive that wouldn't benefit from a visit to the doctor at some juncture, and many of us need them routinely. So there's a lot of room for bad ideas, moreso than the number of people who might engage a fake computer programmer or fireman, a bigger market to sustain permanent charlatans.

With that in mind... once shitty people have money, they're shameless about protecting it. Here's a John Oliver bit about Dr. Oz and nutritional supplements, for example. A lot of pretty unpleasant people have a bottom line that depends on selling garbage, and hucksters gonna huckster.

Also, there's the thing I mentioned above, where our system makes it difficult for a lot of people to get real care, so in desperation, frustration or ignorance they may settle for fake care just because that's the amount of money they have in their pockets and it feels better than doing nothing at all.

Next, there's the gender gap in care that's been brought up. I remember this thread on the blue about it, previously. This leaves women particularly ill-served.

Finally, there's an ethical issue: we all have some right to do dumb stuff we want. Elective procedures, unnecessary rituals, and so on. Because we have a legitimate right to do dumb shit like vortex treatments, it's hard to stamp them out. Laws outlawing those sorts of practices wouldn't work, and would likely cause a host of other problems, (although I'm in favor of forcing any such practice to be super up front about 'for entertainment purposes only,' the way cigarettes need warning labels).

So... yeah. Our system is basically designed to breed this, even though I think doctors themselves are doing their very best, and I think modern medicine is amazing and ever-improving. This is a big picture set of linked problems that all feed each other, and I don't think most of them are fixable without better taxation and oversight, which - in 2017 - is a fancy way of saying that I'm not sure they are solvable right now.

Upon preview:
I don't think anyone is actually defending GOOP and fake medicine bullshit but it wouldn't get anywhere if there wasn't a market for it, and there is a market for it because medicine treats a lot of people like shit.

Basically. tl;dr, it's appealing to a set of people that have been failed by the system in one manner or another, and the fake version of medicine survives in the manner of any good parasite: doesn't kill too many hosts to stop spreading.
posted by mordax at 9:11 PM on July 15 [10 favorites]


What if you were at the top of your field and people constantly tried to contradict you because the the David Avocado Wolf of accounting was constantly telling people to rub crystals on their tax forms instead of filling them out?

One time I wrote a paper and then a big government agency decided to base some of their work on my paper. They invited me to an internal session/ conference thing on how to do so, so I went (my co-author who is older and smarter did not go) and I listened and I had some comments. Did I ever have some comments. Then they told me I didn't understand the paper. That I FUCKING WROTE. I get it. I really do.

However we vigorously and cheerfully run fools out of my my little niche of science. Medicine is happy to let Dr Oz and Dr Mercola and whoever encourage the crazy and there are no professional consequences for it. Once you have a medical license in the US - off you go. Be your own bad self. So you can't really get on the internet and defend it as a monolith as you can mainstream research science. There are very, very few well known researchers who are just fucking wrong about a myriad of stuff on a daily basis. I can't think of a single one actually.
posted by fshgrl at 9:20 PM on July 15 [7 favorites]


there is a market for it because medicine treats a lot of people like shit.

I don't doubt that when people have bad experiences with medicine, they're more likely to look elsewhere for help and to end up in the hands of charlatans. But I think it's really overstating it to say that bad medicine is what creates the market.

Modern medicine can't always provide what people need, even if their doctors are the best possible doctors, and the type of bullshit that GOOP is selling is backed up by a lot of cultural forces (including sexist ones) and powerful marketing.

I mean, I totally get having conflicted feelings about doctors. I had chronic, untreatable migraines for fifteen years. I've had bad doctors and good ones. My full medical file (specialists, tests, hospitalizations) had to be carried on a cart. I've wasted money on "alternative medicine" that was no better than a placebo because they told me that something was wrong with me and that they could fix it.

And yet I don't think it's right to blame doctors for this and I sympathize with their frustration. The broken system should be called out; bad doctors should be called out. They probably make it worse. But they're the reason for the market in harmful nonsense? I don't think so. There are far more culpable people out there (like Paltrow).
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:25 PM on July 15 [9 favorites]


But plenty of MDs sell stuff on Goop and write articles for her too. You can't really blame people for being dumb* and not knowing what is and isn't real "medicine" when the doctors can't agree either. A lot of doctor's I've met know shockingly little about diseases they are more than willing to take your money to treat (I have celiac so I know- every time I get routine bloodwork from a new doctor I have to explain why and basically what celiac is. Which is fine, you can't be an expert in every weird niche disease, but they sure as fuck pretend they are).

*ok, you can. But you can't call the general population dumber than the population of doctors when you see how many doctors write for Goop.
posted by fshgrl at 9:39 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Can we consciously uncouple Gwyneth Paltrow from the Earth's gravity?
posted by tzikeh at 10:11 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


It seems that the narrative being formed here is that women are especially vulnerable to quackery because this or that. And Americans in general. Is there any real evidence to back any of this up?

I've found that quack medicine often becomes appealing when it is sold appealingly. When it can connect with a person's view of how the world works, when it can otherwise appeal and reinforce prior notions and beliefs, when a good story is told to make it feel right. People indulge weird ideas for who the fuck knows why. No experiences with "bad medicine" even needed. In fact, there are some enormously marginal doctors who are greatly loved despite their poor skills, precisely because they can connect and appeal to people so well. It seems people sometimes cannot distinguish bad medicine from good even when they experience it themselves, because people often simply don't work that way.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:23 PM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I've found that quack medicine often becomes appealing when it is sold appealingly.

This is so true. I'm sure there are many people who turn to quack medicine out of desperation, because they can't afford actual medical treatment, or because they have an intractable problem that the current medical science seemingly has no treatment for. But I'm also seeing another kind of quack medicine subscriber, which is the basically healthy person who has money to spare, and to whom medical woo is a kind of indulgence and/or a sort of talisman against larger ills, be they real or imagined. People just seem to want to believe in magic solutions.

A high school-era friend of mine, to whom I'm connected on Facebook, is one of the founders of the Canadian branch of an essential oils company. Because she's at the top of a pyramid scheme, she's making loads of money at it, and she's always going on about how essential oils are keeping her and her five children healthy and happy. She got strep throat awhile back and had to seek medical help for that, and went on about how, since this was the first time she'd been to a doctor in a year and a half, this was a sign that essential oils are keeping her healthy. No, you haven't been to a doctor in a year and a half because you are naturally healthy. You've had the wonderful luck to have great health and to have had five equally healthy children and to live in a time and a place where there's good food and clean drinking water and safety regulations for housing and other products and socialized medicine when you need it and you're claiming that your resulting excellent health is due to the fucking useless essential oils that you're hawking, and frankly it demonstrates an appalling and willful lack of awareness of how the world works.
posted by orange swan at 12:11 AM on July 16 [12 favorites]


Any area of society that may provide you with unpalatable answers to difficult questions is prone to woo: for medicine it's Gwyneth and others like her; if you have money problems and can't hear the sound advice to spend less and save more - there's Ponzi schemes for you; if your boy/girlfriend left you - the famous Psychic Philena will tell you of a wonderful tall dark stranger / lovely woman who you will meet soon. There is a viable business model in these examples.

The list goes on and on ad infinitum. It's part of our mollycoddled Western life to believe in The Path of Least Resistance and to poopoo those who dare suggest we make an effort or we accept that sh*** did happen and that we ought to do something about it that may inconvenience us.

On the specific point of the post, years ago a DOCTOR friend (not my primary physician, though) was adamant that I should be treated with homeopathic 'medicine' INSTEAD of surgery & chemo for a very early stage and eminently treatable cancer. We are no longer friends. YMMV.
posted by Parsnip at 12:52 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


> It seems that the narrative being formed here is that women are especially vulnerable to quackery because this or that

I'm unconvinced. There's plenty of Men's Woo, it just involves less Gwyneth Paltrow and more bodybuilding supplements and directional Hi-Fi cables and whatever else might help you perform Manly Man, and it probably takes less flak for doing so.
posted by doop at 1:59 AM on July 16 [24 favorites]


A lot of complaints directed at doctors in this thread seem to be describing the problem with free-market medicine though, not necessarily a problem with GPs in general. Not to say the NHS is perfect, but pushing patients towards a pet therapy or drug sold by the last pharma rep who took them out to lunch happens far, far less in the UK; NICE makes most of those decisions.

Not to say there aren't horror stories in the UK, of course there are. The NHS still spends £5 million a year on homeopathy
posted by fatfrank at 2:18 AM on July 16 [6 favorites]


The NHS still spends £5 million a year on homeopathy

Sadly, as the reign of Charles III looms ever closer, this is unlikely to improve.
posted by acb at 3:54 AM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Is there any real evidence to back any of this up?

I don't think that women are especially vulnerable to quackery in general, but I think that GOOP is an example of how certain types of quackery are marketed toward women.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:21 AM on July 16 [5 favorites]


You have to prove all that to be a doctor but you don't have to do any of that once you're actually practicing. There are tons of stories just here on the Blue from people who go to the doctor and can't get treatment because the doctor thinks they're too fat, or they're making it up, and that's it, they're stuck.

bleep, I 1000% agree with you that there are doctors who are biased and others that abuse the inherent power differential in medicine. My own field, neurology, has a massive issue with this, because "greats" like J-M Charcot and S. Weir Mitchell are (in some ways rightly) revered for codifying the field, but are also responsible for concepts like hysteria and the rest cure. Neurology also has a problem because the illnesses we treat are scary (stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson disease, dementia), and are poorly understood even by other doctors (I once got a consult request to see a patient because "you guys deal with the weird stuff, right?") So, fertile ground for the woo flowers to grow.

I do think there is a definite social class aspect to this that hasn't been explicitly touched on. I've studied/practiced medicine in a variety of settings: urban underserved, rural farming communities, the VA, and an affluent university-owned practice on tree-lined streets two blocks from Whole Foods. In only one of those places (no prizes for guessing which) have I had patients who would rather buy magic beans off the internet than take a pill three times a day. (Literally, the other day a patient showed me a bottle of beans that she was convinced would cure her Parkinson disease and was better for her than the "chemical" levodopa I had recommended.)

If the alternative medicine conglomerate was truly interested in helping those who have been failed by the system, they would be targeting people who can't afford to see a doctor, homeless people, people who have chronic disabilities, minority groups -- people who actually have been the victims of systemic discrimination. That's not what I see when I look at sites like Goop. As a person of Indian descent, I'm also disturbed by the rampant tendency of "wellness practitioners" to fetishize/exoticize/orientalize "the East." This stuff isn't new -- stretches back to Moliere -- but I do think it's particularly virulent in a society where some people have more money than sense.
posted by basalganglia at 5:09 AM on July 16 [31 favorites]


It seems that the narrative being formed here is that women are especially vulnerable to quackery because this or that

At least in my reading of many of the comments, it's a bit more complex and much less problematic than that. More like, a) women are often poorly served by mainstream medicine; b) alternative medicine contains both valid (eg accupuncture) and quackish (eg Goop) practitioners and the quackish ones play on that ambiguity; and c) a lot of alternative medicine (again, both valid and quackish) is marketed directly at women, including highlighting the shortfalls of mainstream medical practice.

It's not that women are vulnerable per se, it's that there are very real reasons for them to be interested coupled with incredibly pervasive marketing. The structural changes we are seeing (like the proposed rollback of ACA elements, especially things impacting women's reproductive health) are only going to exacerbate that.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:20 AM on July 16 [8 favorites]


There is a very simple cure for this: Start rounding up these people and charge them with fraud. It worked for patent medicine and snake-oil salesmen. Then size all profits gained unless they can present a double-blind study showing that their product works. Why should alternative medicine and supplements not be held to the same standards as everyone else?
posted by Canageek at 8:07 AM on July 16 [4 favorites]


Women also make the medical decisions for their families.
posted by fshgrl at 8:30 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Why should alternative medicine and supplements not be held to the same standards as everyone else?

Answer: Money.

It's the reason that vitamins aren't regulated by the FDA. The industry launched a massive (and successful) campaign against it, convincing people who consume vitamins that the government was taking away their freedom. This is after a massive (and successful) campaign convincing people that they needed vitamins in the first place.

And we're not moving toward regulation now. There would be an uproar, because people really believe in this stuff. Instead, we're moving toward integrating "alternative medicine"1 with mainstream medical practice, often without paying too much attention to whether it has solid scientific foundations - often even if its proposed mechanism of action (e.g. chi) has no basis in a scientific understanding of the world at all.

I'm not a doctor, but my impression from reading science-based medicine blogs is that doctors are increasingly being trained to integrate alternative medicine rather than be skeptical. And which alternative therapies get respect as "valid" seems to be more about how many adherents (and money) they have rather than their actual scientific validity.

1 Alternative medicine that has been shown to be effective through scientific study just becomes medicine. See for example artemisin treatments for malaria, which has its basis in traditional Chinese medicine.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:14 AM on July 16 [8 favorites]


man the head-scratching from some doctors over why they aren't as beloved and respected as they might like to be! guys, listen. guys and -- well, I'll just say guys for now. we don't hate you because you're brilliant, and we don't hate you because you're experts, and we don't hate you because you're arrogant.

we are afraid of you because you can literally kill us. with your hands. and keep practicing and thriving, as long as your professional organizations and malpractice insurance are working as intended. No other class of people is allowed to freely do that except cops.

and I hate cops a lot more than I hate doctors. I actually like doctors quite a lot. I feel reassured by arrogant people who have been to school for a million years and are able to stay calm when people's limbs are falling off. I think that is terrific and I want you all to be rich and happy. I do not need you to foster my delusions. I will take a smart doctor who pays attention over a nice and sympathetic one, any day of the week.

but people who are nervous and combative around those who can, I say again, literally kill them either by withholding or by providing the wrong treatment, either on purpose or by accident, and can be verified to have done so and continue to do so, are being rational. Sometimes the personality disorder is on the other foot, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:33 PM on July 16 [8 favorites]


Goop

This is not the name of a healthy business.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:52 PM on July 16


Look. If people want to spend their time, money and possibly their health on jade eggs, LET THEM. I am sure it would have pleased Darwin no end.
posted by notreally at 2:00 PM on July 16


people who are nervous and combative around those who can, I say again, literally kill them either by withholding or by providing the wrong treatment, either on purpose or by accident, and can be verified to have done so and continue to do so, are being rational.

I think you have a point re: there being legitimate reasons to be nervous when visiting the doctor.

The relationship between patients and doctors is much worse in the US than in most other developed countries, though, where it's also true that your doctor can kill you. Lack of time with patients seems to be a huge cause. Maybe if doctors had more time to talk to their patients, treatment would feel less arbitrary, and patients would trust them more.

The reason I say this is because, as someone with chronic illness who has dealt with the system for far too long, I think it's really worth emphasizing that it doesn't have to be as bad as it is. People will always be a little afraid of doctors. But damn if the system we have doesn't make it worse.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:36 PM on July 16 [4 favorites]


I work as a massage therapist. I feel like I am in the extreme minority for taking about what I have found the evidence based research shows is effective and what isn't.

Although I had training in craniosacral therapy I now no longer practice it, relegating it to the other placebo medicine experiences I had. And I'm at an impasse with Chinese medicine as a whole - although they somehow managed to find every single gangleon nerve and motor neuron in the body and the exact angles to needle them, the rest is just. Getting. Tiresome. To correct every single day.

I practice reflexology. Clients ask all the time about what is premise is and I always use the wording, "the traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe ..." Before explaining the quakery. Then I add, "and although the research is out on that being proven, this is the single most comprehensive hands on therapy for foot and ankle issues I've seen," which is true. I've used it to help people with diabetic neuropathy walk easier, and countless people with plantar fasciitis, calcaneal tendonitis, and bunions live less painful lives.

But.

Nowhere is the quakery more present then women's health. I say this as a male bodied person practicing a borderline quakery form of therapy.

Clients have come to me asking for bodywork to help them regulate menstruation. Go see an obgyn or naturopath. Colleagues have talked my ear off about how ear acupuncture cured their breast cancer. I politely nodded, and quit working there immediately. Clients talk to me about the ayurvedic therapy of a ghee soaked tampon (the ghee is prepared with herbs) for their vaginal health stuff. I ask if they've looked at the research for that - and if it was legal for me to do, I would ask if they've done the research into toxic shock syndrome (it's not because that would be 'giving a diagnosis')

Holy shit it's just too much. I think I'm both in the wrong field, and that women's bodies are a battlefield of misinformation because people want simple solutions for problems and women's health is significantly more complex than (in my humble opinion) any other endocrine function. This disparity, combined with the distrust of doctors here in the US is a breeding ground for anti science 'therapies' (put in quotes because many of these are ineffective and do actual harm) ...

To the person above who argued we should be putting these people on the line for fraud, +1 to that.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 5:32 PM on July 16 [8 favorites]


Women also make the medical decisions for their families.

No, not always. Some families don't even necessarily always have women around to make any decisions for them.

But that's veering off topic, so I'll stick to the facts. My employer insurance at one point last year refused to pay a bill for a hospital visit my son had to make after an accident on the school playground. Another kid had run into him on the playground, putting a gash that ultimately needed staples in his head with his front teeth and giving him a slight concussion in the collision. The insurance declined most of the claim, arguing that the public school or the other kids' insurance should pay. The bill came out to be over a thousand dollars.

I haven't had health insurance for most of 2017 due to being unemployed. I'm meant to be a target for a big tax penalty to make Obamacare look bad, possibly, given my luck lately, but anyway, the unexpected expense came at a particularly bad time when a number of others were mounting.

And what struck me most about it was just how goddamned petty the denial felt. I mean, Jesus Christ, if the point of insurance isn't to help you be able to afford health care when you need it, by pooling healthy and sick alike together and exploiting economies of scale and policy and monopoly power to provide enough for everyone, it's just an industry that takes money for doing nothing but taking money and overcomplicating public health policy and health care delivery.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:31 PM on July 16


Really what should have happened was your insurance paid for your kid's medical needs and then pursued compensation from the other possibly liable insurance companies.

Denying you that was bullshit.
posted by hippybear at 7:57 PM on July 16 [3 favorites]


Nowhere is the quakery more present then women's health. I say this as a male bodied person practicing a borderline quakery form of therapy.

As a Quaker, I must object to this misrepresentation of our presence in women's health or massage therapy. We do our quaking elsewhere. Quackery, of course, is ubiquitous in such areas.
posted by orange swan at 9:39 PM on July 16 [13 favorites]


Maybe this is just Trump fatigue speaking (it almost certainly is), but if someone wants to die for the sake of their asinine beliefs, who am I to stop them? Toxic shock, OK, if that's your game then you go on and do that thing.
posted by aramaic at 9:58 PM on July 16


Though having the death penalty for ignorance and/or gullibility is a bit harsh, especially in an environment where education is seen as a luxury good and unregulated advertising is everywhere.
posted by acb at 2:50 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


I think that women being let down by the medical establishment and thus being more vulnerable to quacks is probably going to be a thing to some degree until women achieve full equality at all levels of the medical profession. As we've discussed in other posts, female doctors still have higher hurdles to clear than their male colleagues.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:59 AM on July 17


Maybe this is just Trump fatigue speaking (it almost certainly is), but if someone wants to die for the sake of their asinine beliefs, who am I to stop them? Toxic shock, OK, if that's your game then you go on and do that thing.

They don't stop at themselves. They never do. They infect others with their gospel, until you have an entire community of people who not only distrust medical doctors, but are willing to do profoundly stupid and self-destructive things to themselves and their kids because they won't listen to reason.

This is how children get measles in 2017 -- a disease for which a vaccine has been available since 1963.
posted by zarq at 10:16 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


There would be an uproar, because people really believe in this stuff. Instead, we're moving toward integrating "alternative medicine"

Solution: Big splashy trials. Sensationalist even. Get everyone talking about how many people died, show pictures of dead babies. Pick the worse offenders first, sequester the jury, then have a marketing firm pumping out pro-FDA ads about how many dead babies resulted from this scam.

(My idea on how to get people to stop opting out of vaccinations is similar: Send them a pamphlet filled with pictures of children sick with the stuff they are opting out of, and detailed explanations of each disease. Make them sign beside each and every picture.)
posted by Canageek at 10:33 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


....literally kill them either by withholding or by providing the wrong treatment, either on purpose or by accident, and can be verified to have done so and continue to do so....

posted by queenofbithynia


That's a hell of an accusation and without evidence, harmful libel.

Cite please.
posted by lalochezia at 12:08 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


One of my best friends went to her OB/GYN with recurring abdominal pains. She was a few months post-partum.

She was told by her gynecologist to let him know if the pain got severely worse, but that she was a very petite woman whose baby had been a bit large, so the pain could be the result of any number of things. No tests needed. Appointment scheduled in 6 months. Her doctor was kind of dismissive, but he'd always been a bit condescending so she chalked it up to his crappy bedside manner.

The pain did not improve. But it wasn't excruciating. So she dealt with hit. And besides, she had a newborn at home.

Six months go by. She went back to her doctor. And when he tried to wave her off, she insisted on having tests run. Which turned up abnormalities. And a CA-125 test with a very high result. A two to three hour exploratory surgery turned into a much longer one and a diagnosis of Stage IV ovarian cancer. At stage I or II, ovarian cancer is very serious. At stage IV, it's a death sentence. Survival rate for Stage IV ovarian cancer is under 20%.

She didn't make it.

I'm not queenofbythnia and I can't speak for her.

But considering the end result for my friend, I don't really give a damn whether the doctor did it deliberately or by accident. Her family doesn't either. Her husband's lawyers certainly don't.

When her story comes up in conversation with my acquaintances who are women, they all seem to recognize her experience. Having their concerns dismissed. Being condescended to when they were looking for help. Somehow I don't think that's a coincidence.
posted by zarq at 1:30 PM on July 17 [17 favorites]


That's a hell of an accusation and without evidence, harmful libel.

No, it isn't. Libel is about damaging the reputation of a person.

queenofbythnia has made no accusations. Pointing out that doctors have power over patients, and that might make some patients nervous, is not libel in any way, shape, or form.

Cite please.

Fine. 2 minutes on Google. SOme doctors have sexually abused their patients.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in an analysis of public records from every state, identified more than 3,100 doctors accused of sexual misconduct, including more than 2,400 doctors whose cases clearly involved patients.

But the AJC also found those numbers represent only a fraction of the doctors who had sexual violations since Jan. 1, 1999.
Some have been accused of deliberately providing inappropriate or unnecessary treatment, and straight out murdering people.

So yeah, maybe some people might be nervous around doctors when they see stuff like this.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:17 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


My idea on how to get people to stop opting out of vaccinations is similar: Send them a pamphlet filled with pictures of children sick with the stuff they are opting out of, and detailed explanations of each disease. Make them sign beside each and every picture.

That's a great idea! Hell, we force women to look at ultrasounds before an abortion. Your idea seems like the least we could do to protect actual children.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:29 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


My idea on how to get people to stop opting out of vaccinations is similar: Send them a pamphlet filled with pictures of children sick with the stuff they are opting out of, and detailed explanations of each disease. Make them sign beside each and every picture.

FWIW, there seems to be mixed evidence on whether this would do the trick or backfire.
posted by eponym at 6:32 AM on July 19




I wish I had a vagina so that Dr. Gunter could be my OB/GYN because she is wall-to-wall awesome.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:51 PM on July 20


« Older "Of course, Brandless is a brand"   |   free-range chickens only, presumably Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.