I owe you an apology. And not just you. I owe the whole country an apology. By being a part of our current healthcare system, I have been an implicit part of the demise of our country’s health.
Our healthcare policies and practices have failed us, and they continue to fail us. They have helped create two generations of overweight and obese individuals. They have allowed rampant increases in the number of people suffering with diabetes and insulin resistance, crippled by dementia, struggling with depression and autoimmune conditions, and the myriad of complications that come from our chronic diseases.
I am guilty too. I have been working within this system and did not stop it. Sure, I can argue that I tried my best to ignore the misguided guidelines and policies, and I did what I felt was best for my patients. But I did not revolt. I did not demand that the system change. That makes me guilty.
It boggles my mind that this situation came to be. It is almost as if all healthcare providers thought, “There is no way we can be responsible. Someone would have noticed and fixed it. We wouldn’t let a broken system continue to make us sicker and sicker. Not when our goal is health.”
It’s hard to imagine any other system where this could happen.
Picture this. You are hired to help a company improve the health of their business by increasing sales and improving the quality of their product. At least that is what your job description says. Your first day on the job, you sit in training all day to learn company policies and guidelines for marketing and product design.
After six months on the job, the company is in trouble. The product keeps falling apart, returns and complaints are at an all-time high, and the marketing is failing to increase demand. Yet, despite this, everyone is congratulated for sticking to the company policy and abiding by the guidelines. In fact, everyone gets a small mid-year bonus for doing such a great job.
Sounds ridiculous, right?
Yet, within the world of healthcare, we could argue that is exactly what is happening. Starting from governmental dietary guidelines, which the AHA and ADA faithfully echo, and continuing with our culture of using a pill for every problem, our healthcare industry has failed. At best it has failed to fix the obvious problems that faces us. At worst it has caused them.
And I have been a part of it. For that I am sorry.
But there is good news on the horizon. Alternative approaches to healthcare continue to increase. Whether it’s from health coaches, naturopaths, functional medicine doctors, or open minded and forward-thinking MDs, we now have options.
The best options offer a hybrid approach that combines the knowledge of medications and acute care medicine, balanced with the desire to promote real health. It is through this framework where we can see the tide starting to change. And once that tide becomes a big enough wave, the mainstream healthcare system will have no choice but to take notice and reform. Then, and only then, can we hope to reverse the path we are on.
Then, and only then, can I be proud to be part of a healthcare system that truly helps people live happier and healthier lives.
Do you have experiences where the healthcare industry has failed you? Share your story in the comments below and let us know how we can help you.
I want to fix this problem and help you find the quality of health that our “health”care industry cannot. Whether it is signing up for a one-on-one consult with me, listening to The Low Carb Cardiologist Podcast, reading my book Your Best Health Ever, or any other way I can help you understand the true essence of health and how to achieve it, please let me know.
Thanks for reading.
Bret Scher, MD FACC
Founder, Boundless Health
10 thoughts on “My Healthcare Apology”
Thanks Dr. Scher, I wish there were more physicians who were as vocal as yourself. My thoughts are there are many more that feel the same way, however haven’t yet voiced their opinions publicly for fear of retribution. Love your podcasts, always look forward to your guests and the meaningful content. Keep up the good fight!
Thanks Matt. Like you, I wonder how many others agree but don’t feel safe enough to voice their opinions. Maybe I am being naive, but I believe in my abillity to speak freely without fear of retribution. The way I see it, as long as I speak out for the best interest of patients, and can back up my comments with data and years of experience, how could anyone have a probelm with that? Time will tell, but for now I hope by being vocal I can inspire others to do the same. Then we can start to change our sick-care medical focus to actual Health-Care.
Dear Dr Bret. Your blog post brought tears to my eyes and moved me deeply! It is the first time I remember hearing this kind of accountability and I appreciate it so much. And of course I accept my own accountability for not delving into the truth more quickly and more deeply. I started working with an alternative practitioner in 1993 but there was so much more to uncover. I currently doctor at True North Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA, which is one of the leading water fasting facilities in the world but they follow a protocol that I now feel is not healthy for me because it is not able to see the wisdom of a HFLC program. At least they helped me water fast three times and help me see that I needed to honor a plant-based program. But now that I have been on a ketogenic program for almost 7 weeks, I see how much better I feel and how much fewer cravings and hunger I experience. I would never go back to just a plant-based program.
So thank you very very much for the responsibilities you have taken in this post…and I look forward to someday having a consult with you. I tried to get in the Virta program but since they don't take anyone under 70 and I am 73, I could not get in at this point. They gave me your name as an alternate connection that I could use to find a practitioner. Best to you and your practice… and thank you so much for all the work you have done to get to this place of accountability and healing.
Lucas Lillian Plumb, PhD, Psychologist
Santa Rosa, CA
Thank you for your comment Dr Plumb. Responses like yours are equally as emotional for me! And thank you for sharing your story. I see this quite a bit, that people don’t realize how much better than could feel until they do! It takes experimenting, as you did, to see what else is out there that can help us lead healthy and happy lives. I suspect you will see great success with a combination of LCHF and intermittent fasting. If I can help in any way, please feel free to reach out. Thanks again and best of luck to you on your continued health journey.
Hey Bret –
Again thanks for such an open statement. If you deeply believe you must stop the system or turn it over, that makes you Jeffersonian in temperment (sp?). I sympathize with much of what you say about the system , but I believe my nature is more Hamiltonian. I think we should still cultivate social institutions that will persist through the revolution. That is why I am generally opposed to the approach of naturopaths and functional medicine docs. The naturopaths move and work so far outside the bounds of normal science I just cannot support them too much. Ever listen to Britt Hermes?
Keep up the good fight !
Thanks for your comment Mike. I agree that many can go too far outside the bounds of what seems reasonable. But at the same time, I am thankful for naturopaths like Nasha Winters and her balanced and holistic approach to cancer therapy (she is coming up soon on a podcast episode). Just as I wouldn’t say all MDs are great and know what they are doing, I also would never say all NDs are quacks and outside the bounds of reality. Both our professions have some bad eggs. We can argue the percentages, but my take home is that it more about the person than it is about the letters after the name.
Thanks Bret for the reply. Of course the person is important , I could not agree more . And I know lots of MDs that cannot diagnose their way out of a paper bag.
Yet I notice that the naturopaths tend to emphasize their qualifications with many letters after their name. And I must add that the naturopath instituitions and practitioners are constantly beating the drum about getting to a deeper understanding of a disease process. Really ??? As if allopathy has not understood for at least 150 years that we often HAVE to deal/manage / work at a level that is not etiologic because of MANY constraints – cost, time , resources , patient willingness, etc.
OK . Nuff said. End of rant .
Looking forward to the next podcast.
Over 15yrs ago I was in a car accident that contributed to post traumatic migraines and PTSD. I was later diagnosed with inattentive type ADHD. Suffice it to say I have my share of neurological challenges. Doctors shrugged off the mTBI as being unimportant and irrelevant. I was put on medications to address the symptoms of migraines and ADHD. At no time in 17yrs have any of the doctors considered addressing the underlying issues or told me that fueling my brain with ketones could be more optimal than following the HCLF USDA guidelines.
Both of my parents have dealt with Type 2 Diabetes for years and I know this is not a path I wish to travel. Shortly after lowering my carbs to below ADA recommendations I started to see surprising changes in my health and began to lower them even more. As I started to research why, a whole new world of the fat adapted and LCHF lifestyle and its benefits opened up before me. This has given me hope but it has also been overwhelming because it is up to me alone to make sense of the information that “Google University” has to offer.
I appreciate your knowledge base and expertise and your willingness to share that on your Low Carb Cardiologist podcast to help people like me who are trying to make sense of it all.
Thanks for sharing your story! It is amazing how many people have similar stories once they were able to break free of the same old dogma that has led many of us astray. Keep up the great work!
Dear Dr Scher,
You are really courageous & encourage me a lot. I am a Pulmonologist working in a respiratory ward in Taiwan where it is very hard if not impossible to practice preventive medicine. I've been following dietdoctor.com for over 5 years & I'm glad you teamed up with Andreas recently. The small group of revolutionaries is slowly but steadily growing in number. Do you mind if I translate your blog material into mandarin for my website? I will cite the source properly.