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Nurses and woo
Posted: 30 December 2009 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I had a frustrating conversation with a nurse I was orienting to my unit last night. We were talking and discovered that we have a lot in common, disdain for all of the right people; Oprah, Suzanne Sommers, Jenny McCarthy, for all of the appropriate reasons. Then she floored me by claiming that she’d just recovered from full body fungal overgrowth (most people with systemic fungal growth are SICK in the ICU, they are generally immune compromised), caused by long term antibiotic and steroid use to treat a sinus infection. She told me that she would get violently ill from any food that breaks down into simple sugars (WTF??). I questioned why she would have needed long term treatment, if one antibiotic did not work, the doctor should have made sure she really had an infection, and check the sensitivity (of course, I don’t know what the doctor’s side was..).  Anyway, she told me she was ‘cured’ by chiropractic manipulation of her neck to ‘drain’ the sinuses. and the ‘fungal overgrowth’ was treated by (S)CAM med, provided by an alternative ‘practitioner’. When I questioned why these treatments could possibly work for the claimed problems, she said “I know it sounds crazy, but it really works and now I am a believer”. The rest of the shift was an uncomfortable silence.

We both took chemistry, physiology, biology, microbiology and anatomy in college (required for our license). Sometimes (in my unit), I feel like I am the only nurse who remembers my lessons! She accused me of being too skeptical, but what she was describing was close to impossible, besides, I ask for rationales and efficacy studies for the ‘conventional’ treatments we do use our patients.

This is mostly venting, but any comments would be appreciated.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I must say, it’s often very frustrating how people can be so foolish and gullible. There’s truly a sucker born every minute.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Asanta,

asanta - 30 December 2009 04:02 AM

I had a frustrating conversation with a nurse I was orienting to my unit last night. We were talking and discovered that we have a lot in common, disdain for all of the right people; Oprah, Suzanne Sommers, Jenny McCarthy, for all of the appropriate reasons. Then she floored me by claiming that she’d just recovered from full body fungal overgrowth (most people with systemic fungal growth are SICK in the ICU, they are generally immune compromised), caused by long term antibiotic and steroid use to treat a sinus infection. She told me that she would get violently ill from any food that breaks down into simple sugars (WTF??). I questioned why she would have needed long term treatment, if one antibiotic did not work, the doctor should have made sure she really had an infection, and check the sensitivity (of course, I don’t know what the doctor’s side was..).  Anyway, she told me she was ‘cured’ by chiropractic manipulation of her neck to ‘drain’ the sinuses. and the ‘fungal overgrowth’ was treated by (S)CAM med, provided by an alternative ‘practitioner’. When I questioned why these treatments could possibly work for the claimed problems, she said “I know it sounds crazy, but it really works and now I am a believer”. The rest of the shift was an uncomfortable silence.

We both took chemistry, physiology, biology, microbiology and anatomy in college (required for our license). Sometimes (in my unit), I feel like I am the only nurse who remembers my lessons! She accused me of being too skeptical, but what she was describing was close to impossible, besides, I ask for rationales and efficacy studies for the ‘conventional’ treatments we do use our patients.

This is mostly venting, but any comments would be appreciated.

Some people seem to convince themselves they’ve had things they haven’t.

I have a small bicycle business in a market and right next to me is a crystals stall with a crystal for every ailment (including sick building syndrome), or you can get Raki healing.

The lady there is convinced she had swine flu but it appears she didn’t because she was making the twice daily trip to and from school at the time.

She also says she has some severe allegy problem, she’ll just drink water for days and says she can’t touch vegetables without coming out in rashes all over. She has, on the odd ocassion, been “cured” of this with some alternative therapy or other but not for long. I don’t know if this illness is imaginary or real.

The chap who works on the stall sometimes says the energy from all the crystals is a bit overpowering. I wonder what the long term health concerns are of overdoses of crystal radiation? Of course this is of particular concern to me as I’m right next door! grin

Stephen

[ Edited: 30 December 2009 09:48 AM by StephenLawrence ]
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Posted: 30 December 2009 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The chap who works on the stall sometimes says the energy from all the crystals is a bit overpowering. I wonder what the long term health concerns are of overdoses of crystal radiation? Of course this is of particular concern to me as I’m right next door grin

Stephen

You might want to consult with Psycheyhacker on that one. There’s a few others here as well. I think their expertise may center more around Di-Lithium Crystals, but you might want to check on that. LOL
Perhaps some protective outerwear is all that’s necessary.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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VYAZMA - 30 December 2009 09:51 AM

Perhaps some protective outerwear is all that’s necessary.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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dougsmith - 30 December 2009 07:40 AM

I must say, it’s often very frustrating how people can be so foolish and gullible. There’s truly a sucker born every minute.

Supposedly, we are a science based profession, it is frustration to see so many co-workers lacking in a functioning BS filter. We don’t even have the excuse of a lack of the education, since a cursory evaluation of the chiropractor’s claims (for example) should make it clearly evident that they are impossible and bogus!

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Posted: 30 December 2009 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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asanta - 30 December 2009 02:00 PM

Supposedly, we are a science based profession, it is frustration to see so many co-workers lacking in a functioning BS filter. We don’t even have the excuse of a lack of the education, since a cursory evaluation of the chiropractor’s claims (for example) should make it clearly evident that they are impossible and bogus!

Yes. I assume that they learn the science as a bunch of facts to be memorized rather than as a method to espouse. Really, we ought to be emphasizing more critical thinking rather than memorization of facts.

The other problem is if she goes around espousing this nonsense. Then people who listen are going to think, “This is credible information, after all it comes from a professional nurse.” In that way she can do a lot more damage than just to herself.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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dougsmith - 30 December 2009 02:10 PM

The other problem is if she goes around espousing this nonsense. Then people who listen are going to think, “This is credible information, after all it comes from a professional nurse.” In that way she can do a lot more damage than just to herself.

That is a very good point. I also spent an hour explaining to her and another nurse, why the H1N1 vaccine was safe, and probably very effective. There are a half dozen nurses that believe in the ‘one true fruit’ that cures everything, and waste $40 per bottle for the opportunity to drink something that is not even very tasty (I’m told), if I spend $40.00 for a drink, it will be a bottle of fine wine! They no longer approach me about their woo, because I “don’t believe anything”... (I actually ask for the studies, proof that they are not wasting their money and that it is even safe, they are firm believers in popularity as truth).

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Posted: 30 December 2009 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Tell them you’re trying to save them money. It’s astounding how readily people part with cash for any old thing whether it works or not.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m afraid I, a self proclaimed sceptic, have to jump in here and mess up the waters with some disruptive suggestions on what scepticism does not mean. 

I don’t ‘believe’ in alternative medicines. I don’t ‘believe’ in magnetic bracelets, homeopathy, etc etc etc.  The key word is ‘believe’. This means that I do not fully or partly accept that these treatments are proven mechanistic treatments. Research done so far doesn’t indicate statistical success using the scientific method. Hence I do not ‘believe’.

However ... I have seen several alternative treatments work. I myself have had amazing success from a chiropractor. I have seen others receive amazing success from other treatments - some quite weird. The placebo effect is no doubt a powerful player here. But it is not proven to be a complete explanation.

The question is what do we do with this information. I truly think that it is not good enough, as a scientist who believes in science, to turn my head away and dismiss it as if it does not exist! Science is about observation and testing and theorising and testing. It is about suggesting and disproving theories and showing that things are not proven or are proven. It is not about proving things do not exist.

Being an Atheist and a sceptic means I have to live in a world where I don’t understand everything. There are mysteries that I cannot explain, that science cannot explain. There are anomalies. There is weirdness. I have to accept this and accept that this is the way the world is. It’s not always about black and white, the way that theists like to see the world.

I have seen things happen. I have seen treatments work. There may be something going on. If I were sick I would not hesitate to try them. But I am not ready to ‘believe’ them.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Woooo!! Yeah!!  Take the torch…You run with it Scepticeye. Run Run…...Run!!!!! I’m free! I’m Free!!
OH YES OH YES!! GIVE ‘EM HELL SON!!! GIVE ‘EM HELL GOOD LUCK MY MAN!!! GOOD LUCK YOUR GOING TO NEED IT!!!
HEEE HAAA HEEE HAAA HEEE HAAA!! LOL  LOL  LOL  LOL

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Posted: 30 December 2009 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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scepticeye - 30 December 2009 05:41 PM

I have seen treatments work.

That, you have not. And it is the crucial point: one cannot see treatments “work” from single instances. You have seen treatments done, and you have seen some sort of improvement. But correlation does not prove causation, and single instances don’t even demonstrate correlation. Improvements happen even where no treatment occurs. To prove causation you need repeatability and statistical controls; hopefully blinded, placebo controlled as well.

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Posted: 30 December 2009 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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asanta - 30 December 2009 02:18 PM
dougsmith - 30 December 2009 02:10 PM

The other problem is if she goes around espousing this nonsense. Then people who listen are going to think, “This is credible information, after all it comes from a professional nurse.” In that way she can do a lot more damage than just to herself.

That is a very good point. I also spent an hour explaining to her and another nurse, why the H1N1 vaccine was safe, and probably very effective. There are a half dozen nurses that believe in the ‘one true fruit’ that cures everything, and waste $40 per bottle for the opportunity to drink something that is not even very tasty (I’m told), if I spend $40.00 for a drink, it will be a bottle of fine wine! They no longer approach me about their woo, because I “don’t believe anything”... (I actually ask for the studies, proof that they are not wasting their money and that it is even safe, they are firm believers in popularity as truth).

Oh no, not the one-true-fruit! Is it Acai, Noni, or stink-fruit this year?  LOL

Last year was Noni juice. This year is Acai. Before that it was some stinky fruit I don’t remember the name. The people selling it claim it cures and prevents cancer. They have brochures with “testimonials” of cures, and of course “testimonials” are untouchable by the FDA. Unless the company itself says it cures disease, it can’t be prosecuted. Pay people to write fake reviews, they’re in the clear.

P.S. I plan to make my millions by “discovering” next year’s one-true-fruit (TM) cure. Who’s with me? Find an obscure berry and I’ll do the marketing.  cheese

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Posted: 31 December 2009 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I had a creationist friend in college, my one evangelical Christian friend—thanks to me meeting him in person several times before learning he was a fundamentalist despite being a budding scientist, a physics major. Anyway, he’s doing well in high-energy-density astrophysics research now, and I have no reason to think he’s any less devout, or that his more rational side was helped or harmed by my skeptic snarkiness back then.

A current friend knows that chi doesn’t exist and yet she believes in her acupuncture treatments without conceding the placebo effect. I’m too whipped to make an issue of it.

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Posted: 31 December 2009 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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scepticeye - 30 December 2009 05:41 PM

However ... I have seen several alternative treatments work. I myself have had amazing success from a chiropractor. I have seen others receive amazing success

I have seen things happen. I have seen treatments work. There may be something going on. If I were sick I would not hesitate to try them. But I am not ready to ‘believe’ them.

Chiropractic treatment is okay as long as they stick to Physical Therapy, although given the choice, I will always choose the better trained Physical Therapist.
The problem is that they do not stick to physical therapy. There is NO WAY any type of manipulation of the neck is going to drain your sinuses. It is phyisiologically inmpossible! If your sinuses drain after this treatment, it is just a coincidence. Causation and Corrolation are two separate issues. Anecdotes are not data.

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Posted: 31 December 2009 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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dougsmith - 30 December 2009 06:49 PM

To prove causation you need repeatability and statistical controls; hopefully blinded, placebo controlled as well.

With proof I would believe. Hence I do not believe smile

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