Medical Epitaph

Medical Epitaph

In 1969, when I was just setting out on my medical career, the progressive rock band King Crimson released an album called “In the Court of the Crimson King” which shook me to the core.

In one track, “Epitaph” are the following lines:

Confusion will be my epitaph

As I crawl a cracked and broken path

If we make it we can all sit back and laugh

But I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying

I almost didn’t want to listen. At one level the music and its prophetic themes enraptured me. But at another level, I didn’t want to listen and lose track of the path I had so recently chosen.

I had selected medicine as a result of what I felt was an inspired intuitive choice. But I had no prior experience of the medical “system” and its constraints daunted me and, over time, became progressively more difficult for me to reconcile myself with.

I believe medicine is going through a paradigm shift. It is the only conclusion that I can reach that reconciles my career choice with King Crimson’s prophetic tones. When I finally realised I could no longer sustain the weight of the Medical Industrial Complex, I decided to position myself within what I believed medicine was metamorphosing into.

I had prior experience to take with me: nutritional medicine, environmental science and analytical psychology qualifications, coupled with extensive experience in complementary and alternative health, and spiritual systems; western, eastern and traditional.

But because of my prior experience I feel that I have been drawn into being a maverick, a renegade medico who points out the system’s flaws and alternatives. There is a place for this; but many are already doing it, so henceforth I will post their writings, but not my own.

Instead, I intend to place myself firmly on the ground that I believe medicine will evolve into, even if I am not around to see it. My posts will reflect this, and try to paint a picture of what this may look like, to give guidance and direction to others seeking this firmer ground. I don’t want to be “crying tomorrow” any more.

Yet there is a lot to take from medicine, though it is more from a traditional understanding than the modern scientific variety:

  1. The core of medicine is the relationship between the doctor and patient, or healer and client.
  2. This relationship is built on mutual trust and respect.
  3. The art of diagnosis is based on listening and supported by examination.
  4. Modern investigations are supportive, not diagnostic.
  5. Systems – particularly the Medical Industrial Complex – interfere and control too much.
  6. Such systems need to be relativised and, in some circumstances, their place and role in the future critically examined.
  7. Our reliance on pharmaceutical medicine is a yoke we will come to regret.
  8. Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) needs to disengage itself from the seduction of mainstream definition and acceptance.
  9. CAM, in this freedom, along with traditional and spiritual disciplines is pointing the way to the future; though in themselves they may not actually be that future.
  10. The role of the general population in directing and even creating this future is not to be minimised or ignored.

If we make it we can all sit back and laugh!