Biblical Reflections on Modern Medicine
Vol. 6, No. 2 (32)
- Beyond Abortion: A Biblical Worldview
Will Those Who Are Pro-life Ever Mature?
- Something New…
Get Your Life Insurance Before You Die!
- Letters-to-Ed: Alternative Medicine and Beyond
- Bob’s Banter
- A Peek into The Mind of Jack Kevorkian
- Praise for Perversion – God Is Out
- Briefs with Commentary
- AIDS: Issues and Answers
- News Flash!
Dr. Payne Is Going to the AAFP Meeting!
- My Frustration, Your Questions
- Are You Associated with a Medical School?
- Updates: The Journal
Will Those Who Are Pro-life Ever Mature?
“Dr. Payne, Dr. Payne. Please sign this.” There was a note of urgency in the resident’s voice. “Sign what?,” I asked, when she consulted me as the Attending Physician in our Family Practice Center. “Sign this form so that we can insert Norplant capsules in this teenager,” she said.
To make a longer story shorter, Medicaid in Georgia would pay for Norplant if the procedure were determined to be an emergency by the physician caring for the patient. Otherwise, the patient had to pay. Since Medicaid patients were “poor,” they would rarely have it done if they had to pay for it themselves.
I did not sign the form for Norplant (but another Attending did). There were two ethical principles here. 1) Contraception, in any form, is not an emergency. Thus, I would have had to lie. (This dilemma occurs often in government “forms” that are designed without moral considerations.) 2) Norplant is a known abortifacient, that is, one method by which it works is prevention of implantation of an embryo in his mother’s womb.
Now, this resident was a Christian in her early 30s, having postponed her residency to have two children. That is, she was no neophyte to either life or Christian teaching. However, she had not recognized either ethical issue. She just followed doggedly in the steps of what other physicians were doing.
“A preoccupation with the abortion debate has left many pro-life evangelicals ill prepared to engage in public debate over other biomedical ethics issues. Evangelicals in this country simply have not had the kind of serious interdisciplinary discussion they should have been having over the last ten years on these issues,” says Nigel Cameron of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. (Christianity Today, January 9, 1995, p. 39)
Astute readers will remember that I have differed with Dr. Cameron on some issues in past Reflections. However, I am in full agreement with him here. In fact, some titles that I considered for my last two books on medical included the words “Beyond Abortion….,” implying that Christians must begin to think beyond abortion to the larger area of medical ethics.
This narrow focus has caused considerable damage to the pro-life cause. For example, many have failed to see the Biblical compatibility of abortion with capital punishment, just wars, and killing in self-defense because they misunderstand what the Biblical sanctity of life is. They have confused ethical issues in terminally ill patients because they have applied the more black and white principles of abortion to those patients.
Also, many pro-life Christians have defended government-sponsored medical programs as Biblical charity. They won’t provide or counsel where to get abortions, but they will provide birth control that allows exposure of young women to hideous sexually transmitted diseases and tragic broken relationships. They have little discernment as to what is true (organic) mental illness and the moral (Biblical) issues inherent in such problems.
Frankly, I don’t know what the answers are. While prospects of a coherent, complete worldview in medical ethics seem remote, the same in the simple basics of a Biblical faith, as well as other fields of study, appear equally remote. Studies of Christians’ behavior shows morality that is little better than that of non-Christians. The best denominations split and then splinter among themselves, bickering all the while.
Christianity is as simple as John 3:16, but as deep and comprehensive as Charles Hodge’s three volumes of Systematic Theology. It is as simple as on person’s faith while its history is as complex as the eight volumes of Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church. It is the most coherent and complete philosophical worldview in existence. Gloria dei.
Today, however, it stands weak and pale before the onslaught of an immoral and perverse culture, virtually around the world. The big issues of the evangelical church are evangelism, missions, and anti-abortion. Rush Limbaugh with his weak Christianity, sexual innuendoes, and sometimes crass humor understands the issues about which he pontificates better than most evangelical Christians.
Imagine an oak tree with a stout trunk and thick limbs that extend into smaller branches so thick that the whole is difficult to see through. That is how I envision Biblical Christianity. Every part is connected to the whole. No part exists without the whole. No part is inconsistent. The whole is a beautiful, complex-but-coherent system.
Most Christian books today show a few isolated branches, usually disconnected with each other. There is no concept that it must fit into the whole or it does not fit at all! Further, it must not contradict any other part or it does not fit at all! It must be supported by other parts, or it does not fit at all.
To paraphrase Cornelius Van Til, “what is right for the individual is right for the family is right for the church and the state and right for the world.”
I try to do my little part in medical ethics. I could not do it without you, my dear readers. And, I am not the only one. But, there aren’t many who grasp this picture.
Some of you will. Learn, study, think of the whole relative to the parts and the parts relative to the whole. Take every opportunity to teach. Share the vision and be concrete. Know your stuff.
I hope that my work is preparation for the opportunity that may one day come to implement a truly Biblical medical practice. It will not be expensive, as medicine is today, because people will understand what medicine can and cannot do and what medicine should and should not do. Perhaps, surprisingly, it will be far more compassionate and charitable than most models in existence today.
I don’t know if it will ever occur. If it did, we might be in the millennium. However, that is my vision. “Without a vision, the people perish.”
Abortion is a hideous evil. It must be fought in every way that it is being fought today with even more vigor. However, being pro-life has an extreme Achilles’ heel — its isolation from the rest of the tree. Connect the branches to the trunk and watch the forces of evil fall before the onslaught of Biblical truth.
Get Your Life Insurance Before You Die!
“Viatical” was not in my vocabulary until today. A viatical settlement is payment of a life insurance policy to a terminally ill patient before he dies.
“The business of viatical settlement emerged in the late 1980s, when savvy speculators observed people with AIDS struggling to meet financial obligations after losing jobs and selling off their obvious assets. Such people had no way to cash in on their insurance policies except to collect what they had paid in premiums over the years, an amount that often was considerably less than the policy’s death benefit.”
“The insurance commissioners’ association recommends a settlement formula of 80 percent of a policy’s death benefit for those with less than six months to live, 70 percent for six months to a year, 65 percent for 12 to 18 months, 60 percent for 18-24 months, and 50 percent for 24 months or more.”
“Although only a small percentage of life-insurance policy-holders have made viatical settlements, the industry is growing rapidly. Approximately $300 million in policies were viaticated in 1994, and at least 65 companies now operate in the U.S., compared with three in 1989.” (Chicago Tribune, February 3, 1995, Section 5, pp. 1-2)
Commentary: While this program offers another option to policy-holders, especially to pay medical bills while alive, it is a reduction in the benefits. A better option would be to borrow money to last until one’s death. Then, with the full payment of the policy, those same medical bills could be paid with the balance going toward one’s estate or other expenses.
However, every case is different. For some patients and their families, this option might be the only one that they have for reasonable care and living expenses while alive. On balance, viatical policies offer another option for terminally ill patients. However, such a decision ought to be made carefully.
Of course the subtle, but profound issue here, is predicting time of death. Physicians are probably creditable in predicting death within a few weeks with most diseases, and perhaps longer in certain diseases whose complications follow a known course. However, at 6 months and beyond, I am wary of physicians’ timetables. Thus, patients with viatical settlements may still find themselves staying alive “too long.”
Dear Dr. Payne,
Your January letter upset me greatly. You wrote despairingly about “Alternative Medicine.” You are looking at too many New Age magazines, perhaps. (Or, do you worship at the altar of the AMA?)
Our son was a very sick little boy* in 1947. We had “the finest pediatrician in town,” as our last word in raising him. I fed him every four hours, no deviation from this schedule, a terrible mixture of canned milk and Karo syrup. He did get cod liver oil (PTL) after age one. He was to have “only the finest canned baby food — Beech Nut.” I did exactly as my doctor and his co-doctor said.
However, when our son was five years old, he was so skinny he had pleats in his blue jeans, coughed almost constantly, and had a runny nose 10 months out of the year. I took him to a clinic which insisted on removing his tonsils and adenoids. He became worse. They suggested a sun lamp be put in his room at night to dry the air. We did that.
Finally, in desperation, I took him to a doctor (M.D.), son of a famous specialist. This doctor was a famous (infamous to you?) alternative physician who took hold of his arm and squeezed it and said, “You eat a lot of sweet things. If you come to me as a patient, no sweets at first — then only one ice cream cone a week. You will have to eat strange foods.
“You will have things like raw scraped brain egg nogs, tomato juice with raw frozen scraped liver with your breakfast, no white bread, no white any- thing, other than vegetables. You will climb a rope to the top of your jungle gym three times each morning before breakfast, you will walk your dog around the block every morning. You will come home for lunch and eat special soup and lamb chops or other nourishing meat.
“You will drink plain unflavored Knox gelatin and fruit juice with every meal. You will use bar bells (to enlarge your chest) every afternoon. And, you will gain weight and will feel much better. If you are willing to do these things, shake on it pal.”
Our son agreed. Instead of salt, I bought a special mineral powder (7 minerals) at the local drug store. We started buying Certified Raw Milk from a special dairy. And I cooked and cooked.
Within three months, our son was a different boy. His grandmother offered him $1.00 for every pound he gained. He made $7.00 the first month. His nose and breathing problems were helped by my taping Scotch tape over his mouth at night. (I did the same thing with my own one night in Corinth, MS, when tiny gnats flew in our motel screen and kept me awake.) When we lived in Georgia, I had to order whole wheat bread from Richmond, VA. They had none in the entire town.
If you run across our son, do ask him about Alt. Medicine. He believes in it just as we do. I’m 77 — my husband also.
Please don’t send your newsletter any longer. Thanks.
Name withheld at Ed’s discretion
Note: Underlines are her emphases.
*The “very sick little boy” is now a famous evangelical writer and speaker whom many readers would recognize. The mother’s letter was quite specific about physicians’ names and cities where they lived. I have printed this letter because it illustrates so much on alternative medicine and modern medicine.
(Modern medicine is the term I prefer. It could be called “traditional,” “orthodox,” or “allopathic,” as this lady does. As I will discuss, and as readers already know, there is a great deal of overlap in every approach to health and medicine.)
Many physicians might get around her assertions by saying, “In 1947, physicians probably knew little more, if any, than alternative practitioners. Medicine had not really escaped from its “dark ages.”
I will not take that route. One of the major problems then is still a problem is that Physicians are trained rather than taught to think. We don’t study logic, philosophy, religion, epistemology, or rational thinking. Our minds are trained to react according to patterns of medical history and “objective” findings. Anything outside of that mind set is almost irrelevant.
Physicians of that day could have (and possibly should have) recommended most of what the alternative practitioner prescribed. (In fact, he was an M.D., so not purely an alternative practitioner as this lady suggests.) I remember in grade school that exercise and a well-rounded diet (from twelve food groups, I think, at that time) were standard recommendations.
That practical advice has not changed, but such is still not standard advice for physicians. We are trained in pills, surgery, and diagnosis. That is our focus. Simple good health is still foreign to usin spite of efforts in medical schools to teach otherwise. I remember a study of physicians and secretaries of physicians relative to their knowledge of nutrition. The secretaries knew more (probably because most of them had “dieted” and planned meals for their families) than their physicians.
The standard treatment of the day was Karo syrup, canned milk, and baby food. (A pretty good fare, really.) So was removing tonsils and adenoids. (Somehow, I escaped, but my older sister did not!) We now know that that surgery was nonsense (but continues to be done, though not as widely). The sun lamp was probably a neutral factor, having some positive and some negative effects.
Now that I have criticized M.D.s and demonstrated the common health guidelines of the day, the special diet and supplements probably had nothing to do with the boy’s growth (unless he was indeed eating too many of his calories from sweets. If so, that was the fault of his mother!) His weight gain probably resulted from the exercise. Unless a diet is profoundly restricted, the body makes and conserves most nutrients that it needs. (For example, if you don’t eat any cholesterol, your body will make it!)
While exercise may not make you live longer, it does re-direct energy intake to become more efficient and grow exercising muscles. The mother said that after this “alternative” instruction, she “cooked and cooked.” My question is, “What did you do before that time?” Perhaps, if she had “cooked and cooked” previously, the boy’s nutrition might have been better anyway! Come on folks, some of this is just common sense!
Even alternative practitioners, however, must individualize their therapy. If this boy had had nasal septal restriction or problems, the scotch tape over his nose could have killed him or caused a severe sleeping disorder!
Also, alternative medicine practitioners are far from agreement among themselves. Indeed, one could say that its formulations are infinitely variable. For example, many present-day regimens would forbid the emphasis on meat in this prescription. Almost all treatments are anecdotal (patient testimonies). Whatever worked gets the credit. Post hoc ego propter hoc!
That’s slang for, “Let’s be brothers and sisters in Christ.” I had two cancellations of subscriptions from my last newsletter, both with long letters. (The other letter was really kooky!) That’s about 0.2% of subscribers. So, I am not complaining.
However, their response does illustrate the intolerance of some people “into” alternative medicine. Don’t get me wrong. There are “weightier” matters over which we should restrict fellowship. Abortion is one. But, in all honesty this whole area of health and medicine (with few, if any exceptions) is all very general, non-specific, poorly scientific, and highly biased – whether it is modern medicine or alternative approaches.
God knows that I have been severely critical of modern medicine and far removed from the AMA (as this lady stated). I am open to alternative approaches. How many times do I have to say it? However, I do demand the same judgment on alternative medicine that I demand from my own profession. My goal, as well as I can understand and pursue it, is God’s truth. Frankly, there isn’t a great deal in any medical or alternative approach that would qualify by any reasonable criteria for truth.
That is why my life’s work is medical ethics rather than medicine. True moral issues involve life and death (e.g., abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide), health (e.g., sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS), government tyranny (nationalized health care), familial authority (e.g., treatment of minor children and child abuse), and personal Biblical authority (psychology and psychology). These and more are the major issues!
I get so frustrated with Christians. They are supposed to be disciples of Christ, the Word — the logos. They are commanded to have the “mind of Christ.” Yet, too many have a shabbily organized knowledge of God and His plan. But, worse they substitute canons of alternative medicine (and other issues).
I am probably preaching to the choir. I love you “renewers of subscriptions” for your patience with me. If, however, we can move ourselves and others from majoring on minors to what is actually major, then we may yet influence this nation and this earth with God’s truth on medical-ethical issues, as well as bring every thought captive to His Word.
Sometimes patients go too far in self-analyses:
“I have too many mood swings — I feel just like Heckyl and Jeckyl.” (Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde?)
“My husband had better watch those sexist remarks or he could end up just like those guys in the Tailgate scandal.” (Tailhook and Watergate)
She did not want to talk to us because she wanted to take a “cat wink.” (Catnap and 40 winks.)
“My husband quit smoking cold duck.” (Cold turkey or his favorite alcoholic beverage?)
Reprinted from The Journal of Family Practice, February 1995, p. 119.
Sign outside a hospital cafeteria: In answer to recent suggestions, our special today is no fat, no sodium, no carbohydrates lasagna… If it tastes like a stack of file folders, remember… you asked for it!
New medical journals are always appearing on the market. The latest is for Dermatologists: The Journal of Itchcraft.
A new line of greeting cards is directed towards frustrated employers: Get well or else!.
Note: the following is the printed version of a speech by Jack Kevorkian.
“Why is organized medicine against this (physician-assisted suicide)? First, because the so-called profession – which is no longer a profession; it’s really a commercial enterprise and has been for a long time – is permeated with religious overtones. The basis of so-called medical ethics is religious ethics. The Hippocratic oath is a religious manifesto. It is not medical. Hippocrates didn’t write it; we don’t know who did, but we think it’s from the Pythagoreans. So if you meet a physician who says “Life is sacred,” be careful. We didn’t study sanctity in medical school. You are talking to a theologian first, probably a businessperson second, and a physician third.”
“The second reason that organized medicine is against physician-assisted voluntary euthanasia is the money involved. If a patient’s suffering is curtailed by three weeks, can you imagine how much that adds up to in medical care? And a lot of drugs are used in the last several months and years of life, which add up to billions of dollars for the pharmaceutical industry.
“This is what is so dismaying to me, what makes me cynical. You have to be cynical in life when you read about a situation that’s so terrible and so incorrigible. There are certain ways to deal with it; you can go insane, which is a refuge (and some do that); or you can face it with deep cynicism. I’ve opted for cynicism.
“In responding to the religious issues, I ask this: Why not let all the religious underpinnings of medicine apply only to the ethics of religious hospitals and leave the secular hospitals alone? The doctors who work in religious hospitals can refuse to do abortions, they can refuse assisted suicide or euthanasia, they can do anything they want. But they have no right to impose what they call a universal medical ethic on secular institutions.
“Besides, what is ethics? Can you define it? My definition is simple: Ethics is saying and doing what is right, at the time. And that changes. Seventy-five years ago, if I told you that for Christmas I was going to have a truck deliver 10 tons of coal to your house, you would have been delighted. If I told you that today, you would be insulted. Doing the right thing changes with time.”
Excerpted from The Humanist, Nov./Dec. 1994. Appeared in UTNE Reader, March-April, 1995, p. 44.
The actions of Jack Kevorkian reflect a twisted mind. Here is some printed text of that mind. I only wish that his belief that “medical ethics is religious ethics” were true. In spite of his cynicism, I think that he has gone “insane” (in the sense of a mind that is totally devoid of God’s thinking.)
He warns against “a physician who says, ‘Life is sacred,'” but I wonder who the patient ought more to be warned against: that physician or Kevorkian?
His example of delivering coal is childish and irrelevant, as is much of the rest of his thinking. Unfortunately, the news media and too many Americans (re: Oregon) are as twisted in their thinking as he is.
I have intentionally left off the titles “Dr.” and “M.D.” because Kevorkian has forfeited the ethical right to them.
A recent event on my own campus of the Medical College of Georgia illustrates society’s and medicine’s worship of the perverse while God is an outcast. Two of the 26,000 panels of the AIDS memorial quilt were displayed in the lobby of the Ambulatory Care Center. In conjunction, “luminaries” were lighted in memory of those who have died of AIDS.
Commentary: I have demonstrated that more than 98 percent of AIDS cases in the United States are transmitted by sexually immoral acts, IV-drug abuse, or marital sex where one partner is at high-risk for HIV-infection (Reflections, November 1994, p. 7). Thus, worship of AIDS victims is largely a worship of the perversities that led to their infection.
The God of orthodox Christianity has been banished from this campus and virtually all of public life. Our culture worships the god of perversity. Dear readers, do not believe that either the GOP or a sound economics program can deliver us from God’s judgment without a return to a moral culture and at least a climate that allows public worship of the Triune God. “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay” (Hebrews 10:30).
Most who are pro-life have heard the argument that “Abortion is safe.” Well, the statistics of the Chicago-based Pro-life Action League (PLAL) tell another story.
PLAL has documented that 332 women have been killed because of “botched” abortion procedures from 1970 to September 1994. Over 200 more are “Jane Doe” cases in which the identities of the women are unknown. However, their deaths are documented in medical journals or state health agencies. (The Christian Interpreter, February 1995, p. 4.
Commentary: Unfortunately, I cannot find my “official” statistics of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I think that their numbers are less. In many cases, the pro-abortionists have the best that statistics have to offer. Complications of abortion procedures, including deaths, end up in hospitals, rather than the abortuaries. Thus, these problems are often reported as conditions other than a direct result of abortion.
Bill Clinton wants abortions to be “safe, legal, and rare.” He is failing on two of three criteria.
USA Today (December 14, 1994, A12) ran an editorial concluding that teenagers are not getting the message about drug use. Teenagers are getting the message. They’re a lot smarter than we think. People are constantly told that they have a right to do what they want with their own body. If this is true, then why is everybody concerned about the increased use of steroids, cocaine, crack, LSD, inhalants, and marijuana among teenagers? States are passing laws allowing doctors to assist people in committing suicide.
If a physically and emotionally sick person is permitted to take a drug to kill himself, then why can’t a teenager take a drug to mask depression and other emotional disorders? Why is everyone surprised at the statistics that show that teen suicide is on the rise? The logic of “body-rights” has been drilled into teens for decades. Teenagers are only applying what they’ve been taught. (American Vision’s Biblical Worldview, February 1995, p. 3.)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – IV (DSM-IV) was published in 1994. This edition is the fifth edition of this “Bible” of the psychiatric profession. (One edition was “III-R.” Thus, the fifth edition is only Roman numeral “IV.”)
Commentary: Perhaps, these changing editions within psychiatry will make us more thankful that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NASB). Prior to 1973, even psychiatrists believed that homosexuality was wrong (i.e., a “mental disorder”). So, if you were a homosexual before 1973, you were “sinning” by psychiatrists’ standards. Now, they pronounce you “righteous.” With God, homosexuality was, is, and always will be an “abomination.”
Also, some religious beliefs are now considered to be valid by DSM-IV. Of course, prior to 1994, this psychiatric “Bible” failed to mention “religion” as of any importance to “mental health.” God began his story with Adam, more than 6,000 years ago. God’s plan for “mental health” has been and always will be the same.
Which Bible is trustworthy to determine right and wrong behavior? The one that changes periodically by committee vote or the One that was written by God Himself? The answer is obvious.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Education has mandated that every medical program that trains physicians in obstetrics must teach them to do abortions. Both faculty and residents (specialists-in-training) may opt out if they believe that abortion is immoral.
Commentary: This mandate is one more step in an ethical progression. Someone has said (write me if you know who), “What is permitted soon becomes law.” Now, abortion is legal, but residents and faculty had been relatively free to opt out of abortion. This mandate will make it more difficult for them to do so. It will also mandate that a program must provide abortion training or lose its accreditation. What if all the faculty are pro-life?
There is some good news here. Fewer and fewer “providers” are doing abortions because of pro-life influence (by several means). Thus, pressure must be exerted on the supply side to get more providers.
Pro-life groups are planning to fight this mandate in the courts or in legislation. They are right to do so. Every obstacle removed from an ethical standard makes it more easily acceptable to more and more people.
Ads have been run in college newspapers that offer $2,000 to $5,000 for the eggs of “healthy, attractive women of a specified age, race, and height.” (National and International Religion Report, February 20, 1995, p. 6)
Commentary: There is more than one ethical problem here. 1) The donation of eggs for in vitrofertilization has similar problems to artificial insemination. As I have written elsewhere, that act is immoral (Biblical Healing for Modern Medicine, pp. 122-124).
2) There is the clear statement that some people are superior (more desirable) than others.
3) These women would be subjected to powerful drugs that are necessary for harvesting of eggs, as well as a serious, life-threatening infection from an intra-abdominal procedure.
Warn the children in your family and in your congregation that this quick money is immoral and dangerous!
Vol. 9, No. 2 (57) March 1995
I have discussed Dr. Peter Duesberg on these pages several times. He believes that AIDS is not caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), but several other factors, primarily drugs. He has been shunned and almost cast out of the scientific community.
However, he has merited a “Special News Report” in the December 9, 1994, issue of Science(one of the leading scientific journals in the world). That report is perhaps the most significant recognition that Dr. Duesberg has received lately by the “mainstream scientific community.”
Of course, the article could not agree with his position, but “some researchers … do support his right to dissent and to be taken seriously by the scientific community.” Dr. Duesberg was, prior to his attack on HIV, a leading researcher in the world in virology and cancer. His ostracism shows the power of orthodoxy in science and medicine.
One of Dr. Duesberg’s major contentions has been that HIV is found only in small quantities in blood of infected patients. However, that phenomenon was a problem of method, not reality. Two separate research teams have now found that “billions of virus particles are continuously produced by newly infected cells and then rapidly cleared…. The kinetics are a lot greater than we ever imagined.”
The body’s defense is likewise active. “The immune system can crank out hordes of new CD4 cells even in severely immunocompromised people. There’s a (great deal) more immunological reserve than people would have thought.”(Science, January 13, 1995, p. 179. Also, see Nature, January 12, 1995, pp. 102, 117-126.)
A mystery has existed why Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) occurs in HIV-infected homosexual men and HIV-positive female sexual partners of bisexual men, but not in hemophiliacs or IV-drug abusers with AIDS. Dr. Duesberg has contended that this variety argues against HIV as a causative agent. (KS is a violaceous, cancerous skin condition that was extremely rare before the advent of AIDS.)
However, one group of researchers (Chang et al.) have identified a herpes virus that may cause KS in the patients described above. This research is new and remains to be confirmed by others. (Nature, January 5, 1995, p. 17)
Commentary: I am not convinced of Dr. Duesberg’s theory that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. However, this new research supports the need for more research to clarify his challenges. “Science” knows more about this virus and this disease than any other in history. Yet, 14 years into this “epidemic,” “startling” new discoveries are being made and there is virtually no known effective treatment.
People who become infected with HIV may experience an illness like the “flu” for several days. After that, they are likely to experience their usual state of health for months and years before the virus compromises their defense systems to the extent that they have enlarged lymph nodes, repeated infections, and wasting that characterizes this later stage known as “AIDS.”
However, “about 5 percent” of HIV-infected people experience no symptoms more than 10 years after becoming infected. Scientists speculate that they have a “weakened” form of the virus. In fact, one man has been found to have an HIV that is “virtually identical to that used in an experimental vaccine.” (Chicago Tribune, January 26, 1995, Section 1, p. 15)
Commentary: Whether this vaccine will prove effective or not, we will wait and see. As of this writing, there is little to give AIDS patients any hope of treatment.
I have made the prediction several times that AIDS statistics would come to be reported without regard to the fact that the criteria for AIDS has changed twice (i.e., three definitions) since these statistics began to be kept.
A graph in the Chicago Tribune shows AIDS cases in Illinois from 1990 to 1994 (February 4, 1995, Section 1, p. 5). Guess what! Beginning in 1993, there is a marked upward swing of AIDS cases after a slowing in 1992. No footnote. No explanation in the text that the definition of AIDS changed January 1, 1993. This change alone accounted for a 50-75% increase in AIDS cases for 1993.
This coverup illustrates two major facts about the medical and scientific community. First, definitions of diseases are somewhat arbitrary. Homosexuality used to be sinful and aberrant, if not a “disease.” However, a “scientific” panel declared it an alternative lifestyle. Now, “orthodox” medicine is taking the position that the attempt to change homosexuals is itself aberrant medical practice!
Second, scientists are able to manipulate data to promote their own ends and careers. I refer you again to Why We Will Never Win the War on AIDS (Inside Story Communications, 190 El Cerrito Plaza, Suite 201, El Cerrito, CA 94530, $20.00, postpaid). The whole of science and medicine are built on arbitrary constructs. That is why it is so tenuous and ineffective.
Less than 0.40 percent of the population of the United States is infected with HIV. Yet, HIV infection is the dominant medical industry today. That politics is science and science is politics is undeniable.
Dr. Payne Is Going to the AAFP Meeting!
I must share this story with you of God’s unexpected Providence. In the spring of 1993, I received a phone call from Dr. Paul Hoehner, a cardiovascular anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He had had several opportunities to give workshops on strengthening medical marriages among his fellow physicians and residents.
With some success, Paul had been asked to chair a one-hour program at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists in Montreal, Canada in April 1994. It was entitled “Integrating Family and Career: Can It Be Done?” Paul knew me because he subscribed to this newsletter and asked me to participate. Drs. James Boyce (an anesthesiologist at the University of Alabama – Birmingham), and Alan Nelson (a psychiatrist in practice in Carbondale, Colorado), participated also.
It was a resounding success, even though all of us, as evangelical Christians, were forthright about the spiritual reasons for our understanding and commitment to marriage. Many appreciated that we brought in the “spiritual” dimension that is virtually anathema around academia today.
The story is not over. In its January/February issue, Physician magazine (printed by Focus on the Family) ran a story on Paul Hoehner’s success at the Montreal meeting. In January 1995, Dr. Walter Larimore of Kissimmee, Florida, called to ask if I would chair a 3-hour course, “Combining Career and Marriage: Can You Do It?,” at the national, annual meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians! Walt had read the Physician article, saw my name as a family physician, and called me. He did not otherwise know me!
So, the stage is set. Drs. Jim Fletcher, Alan Nelson (above), and myself will teach the course. Frankly, I am doubly excited about it. First, God must receive the credit because of the circuitous way that this program ended in my lap. Second, we can put on an excellent program because we know people’s hearts and souls in a way that secularists don’t. I will likely work harder on this presentation than any that I have ever made.
But, He must also see it through. Religion, especially true Christianity, has been virtually ostracized from medicine. We need discernment to present the “truth in love” and have it perceived that way. We need more. We need the movement of the Spirit of God.
This is a great opportunity. Not only is it a chance to strengthen marriages, but to subtly, definitely, bring Christ into medicine. Perhaps, a crack will appear in the door that we can open wide. As you well know from these pages and elsewhere, modern medicine has been foolish to push Christianity out of medicine.
Please place us on your prayer list for this event. The time is September 21, 1995 from 5:00-8:00 P.M. in Anaheim, California. I will report back after the event.
For every issue of Reflections, I accumulate about a 1/2 inch stack of articles and references. I actually use only 15-20 (about 1/10″). The others accumulate over time until the stack threatens to fall on me and then I may throw them away. At least, I will move them into another corner that is less threatening. (However, there are fewer and fewer of these.)
My selection process is somewhat random, using my interests, news events, research reports, and issues not addressed by others as a filter. However, you may have question that I have not addressed. Letters are often a great platform from which to launch new thoughts.
So, set pen to paper or (consistent with this electronic age) computer keyboard to printer and fire at me. I will try to answer those questions that interest me or may interest readers.
As you know from the current and previous insert, my plan is to attempt to place new bound volumes of the Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine in every medical school library in the United States. As you also know, many schools will not be receptive to that idea.
It is much easier to get publications into libraries if someone asks that a certain publication be stocked. If you are associated with a medical school and can be the “go-between,” please write or call 1 (800) 766-7042. I am willing to give a free copy of those volumes, a copy of my book Biblical Healing for Modern Medicine, and a one-year subscription to this newsletter for successful placement of the Journal (or even a hardy attempt).
The first bound volume (years 1987-1990) of the Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine is at the printer. It should be delivered to Covenant Enterprises on or about April 20. You should receive yours within two to three weeks thereafter.
I greatly appreciate your response, especially those who purchased the Sponsors’ Edition. We could still use your help. See the enclosed flyer: it is not too late!
The last regular issue of the Journal was Summer 1994. We expect to publish at least one more issue (Fall 1994). After that, the Journal may or may not be continued. You will either receive the number of journal issues that you have paid for, will be offered other alternatives, or receive a refund. I will keep you informed as the future of the Journal becomes more clear.