Jodi's Reviews > Medical Mavericks

Medical Mavericks by Hugh Desaix Riordan
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it was amazing
bookshelves: health-books

This book is a fascinating read. It reminds us how slow the medical profession is to accept new ideas, even when the evidence for them is overwhelming. There is so much more going on than unbiased and logical analysis of the evidence.

The idea that the medical profession has no vested interests but the best patient care is not just called into question but proved to be not the case again and again over many hundreds of years by the information in this book.

Many case studies and examples given are quite shocking – for example how long it took doctors to agree to wash their hands before delivering babies, and how the doctor that first identified this problem and pushed for handwashing was ridiculed and suffered a huge blow to his standing and career. New information in the medical field is rarely received well, as this book explains.

Doctors unwillingness to admit they were wrong is a huge problem and this affects individual doctors as well as the profession as a whole. There is also the issue of financial liability for doctors and medical organisations as well. When does the medical profession ever admit it is wrong? They almost never do. Yet the medical profession has a high degree of public trust.

We need to be aware that much of what is promoted as ‘absolute medical fact’ today has already been utterly disproven. Yet it persists and will do for many years to come due to vested financial interests involved in medicine as well as how slow medicine is to accept new ideas. We should not assume that the mainsteam medical information we are given is based on logic. Often this is not the case.

We should also not assume that following what is accepted as best practice in mainstream medicine will give us the best health outcomes. At best the information may be decades behind the latest research and especially when it comes to anything not closely aligned with drug company profits.

From the author/book cover:
“This book is dedicated to the memory of all those medical doctors who, since history has been recorded, have contributed to the progress of the science and art of medicine. Medical Mavericks are practitioners who did not follow conventional paths. Instead they chose to go where there is no path and leave a trail. This is not an easy journey. Schopenhauers made the observation that new thought and new truth most often go through three stages. First they are ridiculed. Next they are violently opposed. Then, finally they are accepted as being self-evident. Medical Mavericks Volume One chronicles the tales of 17 different practitioners who were mavericks in their thinking.

The word “maverick” is derived from an American pioneer, Samuel A. Maverick, who chose not to brand his cattle. Through usage the word “maverick”, in addition to meaning an unbranded range animal, has come to mean an independent individual who refuses, because of what he or she has learned, to conform to prevailing group thought.

This book is about such independent individuals who have followed the advice found in this anonymous quotation:

"Do not follow where,
The path may lead.
Go instead where
There is no path,
And leave a trail."

Often reviled by their contemporaries, medical mavericks blazed the trail of scientific progress. These tales of discovery, personal hardship, court intrigues, and hardball professional rivalry make for fascinating reading. Medical Mavericks will raise the eyebrows of many, and bring a sense of relief to contemporary mavericks who can take comfort in the thought that at least they aren't being burned at the stake.

The word maverick is derived from an American pioneer Samuel A. Maverick who chose to not brand his cattle. Through usage the word maverick in addition to meaning an unbranded range animal has come to mean an independent individual who refuses to confrom to his group. This book could just as accurately have been titled "One person can make a difference" or "Burn him at the stake and use damp straw." Often reviled by their comtemporaries but revered by subsequent generations these medical mavericks blazed the trail of scientific progress. These tales of discovery personal hardship court intrigues and hardball professional rivalry make for fascinating reading.”

Dr Riordan was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin Medical School, and had practiced clinical medicine for nearly 50 years. He is also quite a medical trailblazer himself as the book ‘Pyramid on the Praerie’ explains. He has done a great job with this book and I recommend it, along with the other two books in the series. The myth of the lack of bias in the medical profession has to die! There is bias, and it is large.

Thank goodness for all those real medical pioneers out there.

This book can be read free and legally online:

Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) and Health, Healing & Hummingbirds (HHH)

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Reading Progress

August 30, 2012 – Started Reading
August 30, 2012 – Shelved
August 31, 2012 – Finished Reading

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