Chapter 1

1. This information demonstrates unequivocally that hospitals are dangerous places and that medical treatment may have disastrous consequences. It is salutary to compare this with safety standards in the scheduled airline business. Thousands of passenger aircraft take off and land safely every day. The extremely rare accidents emphasise the very low risks facing those who travel by air. It is worth comparing the different approaches to failure in these two sectors. Any airline crash is subjected to a very thorough investigation so that lessons learned can be applied to prevent another similar event. By contrast, in medicine, most accidental deaths are either covered up or shrugged off.

2. The fundamental problem is that the key to overcoming any disease is to identify the root cause and take appropriate steps to eliminate it. In practice, this is rarely done. Most of us blithely accept that even though we continue doing whatever caused the disease, treatment with drugs can overcome it. The reality is that the best that drugs can achieve is some alleviation of the symptoms. Even if a ‘cure’ is achieved, the likelihood is that the disease will recur unless the primary cause is addressed.

Chapter 1

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