commentary: Antibiotic Doomsday Scenario
Medical Misuse of Drugs
Martin G. Collins
Given 08-Jun-13; Sermon #1162c; 13 minutes
Martin Collins reports that, because our society has relied so heavily on antibiotics for trivial things, the World Health Organization warns about a coming time when antibiotics will become useless against infections which have developed a stubborn resistance. Over 50% of the prescribed antibiotic drugs are unnecessary, and furthermore, are incrementally strengthening the pathogenic viruses and bacteria, turning them into killer diseases. Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics (such as against the common cold) has led to this grim nightmare. MRSA and tuberculosis have been able to 'outsmart' the most aggressive drug regimes and are taking lives around the world in pandemic proportions. Farmers who routinely feed antibiotics to their livestock are contributing to making society vulnerable to deadly disease. Most sinus infections and colds run their course, requiring no drug intervention. No drug or medicine can heal; God alone can heal. The physician's role should be largely one of instructing patients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the world may find itself in an era where there are no effective drug treatments for many infections. It estimates that 50 to 70 percent of prescribed antibiotics are UNnecessary.
This means that even common infections like respiratory tract or urinary tract infections can progress to potentially life-threatening infections because the bug canont be controlled by any antibiotic anymore. This is called “antibiotic resistance.”
Simply put, antibiotic resistance is an increase in the tolerance of a strain of bacteria against an antibiotic that usually treats it effectively.
According to Wikipedia, under the article "Antibiotic Resistance":
The sheer volume of antibiotics prescribed is the major factor in the increasing rates of bacterial resistance rather than non-compliance with antibiotic protocol. A single dose of antibiotics leads to a greater risk of resistant organisms to that antibiotic in the person for up to a year.
Inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics has been attributed to a number of causes, including: people who insist on antibiotics, physicians who simply prescribe them as they feel they do not have time to explain why they are not necessary, and physicians who do not know when to prescribe antibiotics or else are overly cautious for medical legal reasons.
A third of people believe that antibiotics are effective for the common cold, and the common cold [which is caused by viruses, not bacteria] is the most common reason antibiotics are prescribed even though antibiotics are completely useless against viruses.
This misuse is approaching an antibiotic doomsday scenario, which is actually made possible by man-caused folly: the abuse, misuse or irrational use of drugs, particularly antibiotics.
People think that when the fever and other symptoms dissipate after a few days, it was because they took antibiotics, not realizing that most viral infections are self-limiting, and people get well even without treatment. But in the process, they have repeatedly spawned the seeds of antimicrobial resistance in their own bodies, lowing their resistance to disease for the future.
One of the doctors Mark Schindler went to a number of years ago for help in controlling seizures was Dr. David Edelberg, a board-certified M.D. who uses non-traditional, whole health methods of treatment. Mark says Dr. Edelberg’s more natural way of controlling his seizures was quite helpful. Mark sent this article to me that Dr. Edelberg wrote, titled, "Avoiding the Antibiotic Doomsday Scenario," which he wrote for his weekly newsletter Whole Health Chicago. I thought that it was so appropriate and so well written that you would appreciate the information as well.
Breaking into the body of the article, here is what he writes:
Listen up. This recent warning is deadly serious. Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, an MD, went on record stating that antibiotic resistance is a greater threat to the world than international terrorism and annually far more lethal. ….
The final moments of Dr. Davies’ doomsday scenario play out with all bacteria becoming resistant to all antibiotics. Very Stephen King. Strep throat invariably progresses to fatal pneumonia, a minor scratch to terminal blood poisoning. Surgical incisions routinely infect despite all precautions.
Currently we’re encountering the result of antibiotic overuse primarily in hospitals, where multi-drug combinations are needed to deal with bacteria that have the ability to outsmart our drugs.
If your sensibilities tend more toward sci-fi, imagine the following real-life scenarios. Worldwide, the most resistant bacteria is tuberculosis, for which many antibiotics must be administered simultaneously for successful treatment. Yet multi-drug-resistant TB is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. Hundreds of thousands.
Here in the US, the villain is MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus), which kills about 25,000 hospital patients a year. We used to destroy MRSA with a second antibiotic, vancomycin, but as luck would have it VRSA (you can guess what the initials stand for) emerged. ….
The dire alerts about antibiotic overuse from the World Health Organization (WHO) are directed at two groups in charge of antibiotic distribution:
- First and foremost, primary care physicians are urged to avoid overprescribing antibiotics for conditions that simply don’t require them and will never respond to them (mainly those caused by viruses).
- Second, the agricultural industry, which pours broad-spectrum antibiotics into livestock, is being urged to stop. Animals raised this way for meat become infected with resistant bacteria that are then passed onto (and into) consumers.
In another part of the article, he mentions that you are better off buying organic meat that does not have antibiotics in it. Continuing:
Physicians and farmers alike offer up all sorts of excuses to justify their behavior, but the WHO is right. Everyone with access to antibiotics seems to be overusing them. For you, I recommend thinking twice before calling your physician or heading to a minute clinic for an antibiotic. [This is a doctor telling us this.]
Keep in mind…
Virtually all colds (sore throat, runny nose, nonproductive cough) are viral and definitely need NO antibiotic. Just treat symptoms as they come and they’ll resolve on their own.
The vast majority of sinus infections and bronchitis are also caused by viruses and can be self-treated with steam inhalation, mucous-thinners…, decongestants…, immunity enhancers…, neti pots, and/or asthma inhalers. If you get a respiratory infection and are slowly feeling a little better, though “not fast enough,” be patient. “Not fast enough” is not a call for antibiotics….
What none of these doomsday articles on antibiotics mentions is that the very best way to prevent antibiotic overuse is for people to maintain a healthful lifestyle and simply not need antibiotics at all. Any physician will tell you that the worst infections occur in patients who have compromised their immunity through years of self-neglect….
In medical school, the term we learned was “host susceptibility.” This meant an infection occurred not because a species of bacteria was particularly vicious, but rather because the patient was especially vulnerable. For example, obesity can lead to diabetes and diabetics are more susceptible to infections than the rest of the population….
The central lesson (as always) is to take good care of yourself. If you’re not a susceptible host, you may never need an antibiotic and thus you’ll never contribute to the doomsday scenario of antibiotic resistance.
With all drugs, which must affect the body mechanism to produce any results at all, the doctor who prescribes them knows he must balance the risks against advantages. So today, practitioners refer to their treatment of the human body as “managing” the pain, "managing" the cancer, "managing" the disease—which is their admission that they cannot heal anyone.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, article “Medicine,” “The medical art as we now practice it, the character of the physician as we now understand it, both date for us from Hippocrates.” He lived in ancient Greece around 300 BC,
Medical science has always been a strange mixture of truth and error. The Britannica continues:
In the treatment of disease, the Hippocratic school attached great importance to diet, the variations necessary in different diseases being minutely defined. Medicines were regarded as of secondary importance, but not neglected.… In chronic cases, diet, exercise and natural methods were chiefly relied upon….
Ancient physicians recognized the vital importance of diet in preventing diseases. It should be a doctor’s primary duty to teach people how to live in a healthy way, not to try to cure them after they become sick. But today most doctors are so busy giving drugs to the sick and afflicted that they have no time or patience to teach them how to keep well!
A mere 100 years after Hippocrates, around 200 BC, in Greek dominated Egypt, physicians’ skills in the use of drugs and in the art of surgery and obstetrics compares very closely to the drug pushing doctors of modern times. Medical science came through—and out of—the influence of the priestly sorcery of Egypt; and spread through the world, and down to us today. People, still to this day, foolishly believe that they can be healed only through medical science. The very doctors or physicians that learned under Hippocrates in that school of medicine that diet, exercise, and such natural ways work the most effectively to treat disease—the same doctors who learned under that went through Egypt (which the Greeks were in Egypt) and learned from the priests of Egypt the perversion that we have today in the medical sciences. Physicians have their place in society; the author of the book of Luke was a physician. But they must no overstep their proper responsibility.
In Mark 2:17, Jesus said that the “sick need a physician.” But which physician? The Greek word from which “physician” is translated means “healer” or “one who makes whole.” Doctors are not that. They cannot make anyone whole. They cannot heal anyone. Generally, doctors admit that no drug or medicine can heal. God is the only true Healer.
I am not saying we should not go to doctors. I am just saying we should use them for their proper use, which has been perverted quite often in this society.
Matthew's friends were patients who needed a physician, and Jesus was that Physician. Spiritually, sin may be compared to sickness, and forgiveness to having your health restored. In a sense, our Savior may be compared to a physician: He comes to us in our need; He makes a perfect diagnosis; He provides a final and complete cure; and He pays the bill! What a physician we have!