Thanks Markham for an excellent and much-needed article. Ordinary people forget (or never learned in the first place) that even today a huge amount of standard medical practice is based merely on assertion and habit; evidence-based treatments are most often strongly resisted by doctors for decades. After all, when you’re the “expert” it is very unpleasant to be told you’ve been doing it wrong the whole time. So when we listen to medical advice from doctors it’s always worth doing primary research to determine whether there is any plausible basis for the recommendations being handed out. As doctors have a lamentable record, recommending a wide range of treatments that do no good and impose significant harm, we should not passively accept all medical advice on the assumption that “the doctor knows best.” Sadly, this is very often not at all the case. With regard to fever, cellular biologists know that when the temperature reaches around 40 Celsius this inhibits the mechanisms that copy DNA and RNA. Thus fever directly inhibits the self-replication strategy of all viruses (they hi-jack our cellular mechanisms to reproduce, as they can’t otherwise multiply) and provides our immune systems with time to respond appropriately. Suppressing fever means the virus keeps replicating, always out-pacing our immune system. Doctors, fixating only on surface appearance (“oh my god, the patient’s temperature is rising!”) fail to grasp the underlying mechanisms at work and thus their treatments run counter to the patient’s best interests.
In the event readers aren’t able to think of other examples of harmful procedures routinely recommended in the past and in the present by the medical profession, here are a tiny number of examples drawn from literally hundreds:
Removal of adenoids & tonsils
30% Caesarian section rate in USA due to inducing labor with drugs & using anaesthetics on the mother
Prescribing antibiotics for viral infections
Keeping terminally ill patients on life support, thus prolonging their suffering prior to the patient inevitably dying anyway a few days later
Prescribing highly addictive opioids
Prescribing drugs to treat ailments that ought to be treated by diet and exercise