Life Extension Magazine July 2007
As We See It
Innovative Doctor Brutally Assaulted
By William Faloon
By William Faloon
In this month’s issue, we report on the harrowing ordeals of doctors in the United States who are trying to save lives by breaking down the barriers that shackle medical progress.
To understand why the medical establishment is so hostile towards new ideas, all one has to do is look at the savage attacks inflicted on a courageous Chinese physician who tried to introduce the most rudimentary improvements in health care.
Money Is the Priority
There was a time when medical practice was viewed as a science that attracted individuals with the compassion and curiosity to seek out better ways of combating disease.
That noble attitude has steadily deteriorated as the priority has turned to making money instead of advancing medical science.
In the United States, the medical establishment lobbies regulatory agencies to take civil and criminal actions against those whose inventions would render conventional methodologies obsolete. The American media is used to discredit novel approaches that would cut into the establishment’s money-making machines. The Chinese medical establishment has taken a more direct approach to stifling innovation. You are about to read how a Chinese internist was harassed and brutally assaulted for daring to educate the public about proven and less expensive methods of protecting against disease. What happened to this dedicated physician, however, is not unique to China. Regrettably, the abuse suffered by this Chinese physician is analogous to how the American medical establishment has persecuted those who dare challenge its conventional doctrines.
How Today’s Chinese Medical System Works
China’s government once took care of the medical needs of most of its citizens. That changed in the 1980s, as a bizarre system was introduced that rewarded physicians with “bonuses” for prescribing expensive drugs that the patients had to pay for.
While hospital buildings are mostly government-owned, their funding is heavily dependent on the drugs and diagnostic tests sold to patients. Prescription drugs account for about 60% of hospital revenue, and earnings depend on lots of seriously ill patients being hospitalized each year. Studies show that Chinese doctors massively over-prescribe drugs to increase their bonuses. One survey revealed that less than 1% of drug prescriptions at village clinics were considered reasonable by doctors who reviewed the patients’ records.
As the Chinese population develops a more Westernized lifestyle, their rates of cancer, heart attack, and stroke are skyrocketing. In particular, hypertension has become epidemic. All of this has provided hospital staff physicians with an enormous economic inducement to prescribe lots of expensive drugs.
An unintended consequence of all this is that Chinese hospitals have turned into giant pharmacies. Drug sales now make up 50% of health care spending in China, a percentage higher than in the United States. For Chinese medical doctors, every prescription written is a money-making opportunity.
Doctors have no incentive to make patients healthy, as that would cut back on their cherished drug bonuses.
A Physician Who Bucked the Establishment
Dr. Hu Weimin is a Chinese internist who thought it absurd that patients admitted to the hospital were told they had to purchase lots of expensive prescription drugs in order to live. Dr. Hu was convinced that lifestyle changes would not only prevent disease, but also reverse many of the chronic illnesses that were plaguing his community.
As word of Dr. Hu’s success spread, he attracted a huge following of people who changed their lifestyles by reducing their high intake of greasy fats and salt, stopping smoking, and exercising more. As thousands followed Dr. Hu’s advice, the community hospital where he worked lost a small fortune in profits, because not enough people were getting sick.
While his preventive medicine crusade gained him national recognition in China, he endured brutal hardships at the hands of the local medical establishment, who viewed him as a threat to their prescription-drug money machine.
How It Began
Dr. Hu initiated his preventive health campaign by asking the hospital where he worked for a room to present seminars on hypertension. The hospital refused to free up the space, but agreed to allow him to hold his seminars in the dank coal shed out back. For two years, his free “coal shed seminars” attracted constant traffic, but then the trouble started.
As more people learned how to prevent disease, fellow physicians saw their patient numbers falling, and the hospital saw decreased revenues.
Chinese Medical Establishment Fights Back
In retaliation for the lost profits caused by his education campaign, Dr. Hu endured a series of attacks from the medical establishment. The sign advertising his clinic was repeatedly ripped down and smashed. The hospital director sought to remove him from medical practice. When that failed, Dr. Hu was banned from the hospital wards, meaning that he could only do outpatient work, which in China means that he was virtually sidelined.
Most disturbing was the beating he took at the hands of his supervisor (the Deputy Director of Internal Medicine). Dr. Hu was kicked in the groin, hospitalized for his injury, and rendered impotent.
Physically beaten and shunned by fellow physicians who blamed him for their declining revenues, Dr. Hu Weimin became an outcast, and had no choice other than to resign.
Dr. Hu’s Patients Take a Stand
The thought of Dr. Hu not being available did not sit well with the patients he had helped, who rallied with a 3,000-name petition protesting the hospital’s prejudicial actions and begging him to continue practicing medicine.
Investigative pieces detailing his persecution at the hands of the medical establishment began appearing in prominent state-run newspapers, as the Chinese government itself was bearing the outrage from citizens whose life savings were being plundered by overpriced prescription drugs and other hospital costs.
Dr. Hu’s Remarkable Comeback
As favorable publicity about Dr. Hu’s humanitarian efforts continued to intensify, the hospital director who had tried to run him out of medical practice was removed by the local government. Dr. Hu got his office back at the same hospital that sought to destroy him, though he is not allowed to practice in the wards.
The sign above his door now reads, “Prevention and Cure Office for Blood Vessel of Heart and Brain.” During weekdays, it is standing room only for the hypertension sufferers who swarm to listen to Dr. Hu’s practical disease-prevention recommendations.
Through his free website, he manages some 7,000 patients and runs a hypertension support group with 50,000 members, though hackers often break through in an effort to censor his dissemination of information that reduces the need for hospitals and drugs.
How America Treats Those Who Emulate Dr. Hu
The United States medical establishment is an economic behemoth that has long sought to monopolize every aspect of health care. Pioneering physicians who discover improved ways to prevent and treat disease often find themselves under intense regulatory pressure, even though there are no patient complaints.
As Life Extension learned long ago, conventional medicine employs legions of lobbyists not only to influence members of Congress, but also to pressure regulatory agencies to instigate investigations against those who challenge establishment dogma.
As a result of these deceitful lobbying campaigns, physicians who dare to provide patients with novel solutions to otherwise untreatable conditions face sanctions ranging from denial of insurance reimbursement to prison sentences.
Alternatives to conventional medicine exist in the United States today only because of protests by citizens who see through the charade erected by those seeking to protect their outrageous profits by keeping medical practice in the Dark Ages.
The Life Extension Foundation has been on the front lines combating the insidious efforts by mainstream medicine to deny Americans access to lifesaving therapies. In this issue of Life Extension, we relate some of the many real-life stories of physicians who are persecuted for providing their patients with access to novel therapies that have not yet been recognized by the establishment.
For longer life,