How Doctors Responded to Being Named a Leading Killer

In my video Why Prevention Is Worth a Ton of Cure, I profiled a paper that added up all the deaths caused by medical care in this country, including the hundred thousand deaths from medication side effects, all the deaths caused by errors, and so on. The author of the paper concluded that the third leading cause of death in America is the American medical system.

What was the medical community’s reaction to this revelation? After all, the paper was published in one of the most prestigious medical journals, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and was authored by one of our most prestigious physicians, Barbara Starfield, who literally wrote the book on primary care. When she was asked in an interview what the response was, Starfield replied that her primary care work had been widely embraced, but her findings on how harmful and ineffective healthcare could be received almost no attention.

This inspires the recollection of “the dark dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984, where awkward facts are swallowed up by the ‘memory hole’ as if they had never existed at all.” Report after report has come out, and the response has been a deafening silence both in deed and in word, failing to even openly discuss the problem, leading to thousands of additional deaths. We can’t just keep putting out reports, we have to actually do something.

As I discuss in my video How Doctors Responded to Being Named a Leading Killer, the first report was published in 1978, suggesting about 120,000 preventable hospital deaths a year. The response? Silence for another 16 years until another scathing reminder was published. If we multiply 120,000 by those 16 years, we get 1.9 million preventable deaths, about which there was near total doctor silence. There was no substantial effort to reduce the number of those deaths. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) then released its landmark study in 1999, asserting that yet another 600,000 patients died during that time when providers could have acted.

Some things have finally changed. Work hour limits were instituted for medical trainees. Interns and residents could no longer be worked more than 80 hours a week, at least on paper, and the shifts couldn’t be more than 30 hours long. That may not sound like a big step, but when I started out my internship, I worked 36 hour shifts every three days, 117-hour work weeks.

When interns and residents are forced to pull all-nighters, they make 36% more serious medical errors, five times more diagnostic errors, and have twice as many “attentional failures.” That doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize that means things like nodding off during surgery.

The patient is supposed to be asleep during surgery, not the surgeon.

Performance is impaired as much as a blood alcohol level that would make it illegal to drive a car—but these overworked interns and residents can still do surgery. No surprise there were 300% more patient deaths. Residents consider themselves lucky if they get through training without killing anyone. Not that the family would ever find out. With rare exceptions, doctors are unaccountable for their actions.

The IOM report did break the silence and prompted widespread promises of change, but what they did not do is act as if they really believed their own findings. If we truly believed that a minimum of 120 people every day were dying preventable deaths in hospitals, we would draw a line in the sand. If an airliner was crashing every day, we’d expect that the FAA would step in and do something. The Institute of Medicine could insistently demand that doctors and hospitals immediately adopt at least a minimum set of preventive practices—for example, bar-coding drugs so there aren’t any mix-ups, like they do for even a pack of Tic Tacs at the grocery store. Rather than just going on to write yet another report, they could bluntly warn colleagues they would publicly censure those who resisted implementing these minimum practices, calling for some kind of stringent sanctions.

Instead, we get silence. But not for Barbara Starfield, who is unfortunately no longer with us. Ironically, she may have died from one of the adverse drug reactions she so vociferously warned us about. She was placed on aspirin and the blood-thinner Plavix to keep a stent she had to have placed in her coronary artery from clogging up. She told her cardiologist she was bruising more, bleeding longer, but those side effects are the risks you hope don’t outweigh the benefits. Starfield apparently hit her head while swimming and bled into her brain.

The question for me is not whether she should have been on two blood-thinners for that long or even whether she should have had the stent inserted. Instead, I question whether or not she could have outright avoided the heart disease, which is 96% avoidable in women.

The number-one killer of women need almost never happen.

For those curious about my time in medical training, you can read my memoir of sorts, Heart Failure: Diary of a Third Year Medical Student.

It isn’t just medical treatment that can be harmful. Even medical diagnosis can be dangerous, as I discuss in my video Cancer Risk From CT Scan Radiation.

And, just as we’re (finally) seeing some changes in training protocols, the times, they are a-changin’ with the emergence of the field of lifestyle medicine, as I present in several videos, including:

 I recently made some videos to give people a closer look at why I believe it’s so important for us to take responsibility for our own health. You can see all of them on our new Introductory Videos page.

I’m excited to be part of this revolution in medicine. Please consider joining me by supporting the 501c3 nonprofit organization that keeps alive by making a tax-deductible donation. Thank you so much for helping me help so many others.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

105 responses to “How Doctors Responded to Being Named a Leading Killer

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    1. Yes, exactly, because any single one of those things has helped someone, somewhere, sometimes.

      How about donate to a charity that will help those people or get your sunflowery ass up and do something….oh no wait…I’ll lay down and send some positiv energy…that’ll do! -.-

      That works also for relationships and lotteries. But don’t you tell anyone!

    2. “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” — Count Leo Tolstoy

      “For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” -Pythagoras

      “For hundreds of thousands of years the stew in the pot has brewed hatred and resentment that is difficult to stop. If you wish to know why there are disasters of armies and weapons in the world, listen to the piteous cries from the slaughter house at midnight.”—Ancient Chinese verse

      “Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed. Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”~ David Coates

      1. These views are so much better than those from the ‘ethical treatment of animals’ folks. They’re not wrong. But they’re wrong about enough people care.

        Self interest is key. And the arguments are unassailable.

  1. People are taught that bodies are machines and work like a machines. But the body is not a machine. It is a living organism. The biggest difference is that it makes itself, whereas a machine is made by humans using human made rules and human made purpose. Medicine is also a human made knowledge full of assumptions of how the body should work. Yet, people believe in medicine.

    1. You are so right! Nowadays not only the humane body but all living organisms are beïnvloeden seen as machines. And therefore made susbsceptible to all sorts of technical and genetic manipulations in order to make us believe that iT is all in the public’s interest.
      Whereas a change of lifestyle would be the most simple, healthiest And cheapest solution for the public’s wellbeing And that of our planet.

    2. Medicine requires double-blind placebo-controlled trials in order that it may properly be called science. But ‘belief’ is what is often expected of the patient, ‘belief’ being the acceptance that something is true, but without proof. ‘Informed consent’ is very rare in medicine, it would be too costly. And of course we, the patients, are all nitwits.

    1. Pam,
      It’s like you have a leak, call a plumber and he gets out a mop and bucket and charges you for weeks of labor to mop up the leak….. uffda…

  2. Sadly my brother had a surgical procedure done on him by a resident teaching interns (at a major teaching hospital in Michigan) and the resident forgot to have anasthesia administered before the procedure which was how the procedure should have been carried out. (My brother has a post birth injury brought on my incorrect procedure in an army hospital that he has lived with for years.) My teenage brother was so weak and sick he was unable to stop the procedure. Fortunately the resident did not kill my brother, but the pain and suffering he inflicted on my brother was immense by carrying out surgery with no anasthesia. I tracked the resident down and told him he was never to come near my brother again. He never did. What a sad testimony on medical mistakes in America.

  3. I would personally try to avoid hospitals and medication wherever I can, and have obviously adapted my diet years ago. However, I have a question. A friend of mine is diagnosed with cancer – it’s in her belly / intestines. As soon as she found out, last year, she completely switched to a plant-based diet. The doctors want to operate and give her only 20% chance of survival with the operation, and about 1 year without. Can a change of diet, combined with eliminating stress and working on emotional issues, in such cases be enough? Doctors always seem to work with ‘averages’ but that doesn’t make a distinction for those who eat plant-based. I understand you cannot answer the question without more details, but would like to know the general idea.

    1. I would personally try to avoid hospitals and medication wherever I can

      As a hospital worker with 40+ years experience, I whole heartedly agree… Don’t get me wrong, if I’m in a major accident send me to a trauma center, and when able get the hell out..

    2. When it comes to cancer treatment, I am divided. On one hand, I believe that nutrition is key to Preventing cancer, but not necessarily Curing cancer. Don’t believe those naturopaths and “Chris has Cancer” guy who make all kind of claims that chemo and surgery kill people, that people can heal themselves with just foods and herbs and detox. They provide no statistics of their claims, and also those “doctors” look very poor. I am sure if they have found a cure of cancer, patients will flock to their clinics after hearing from friends and relatives who had been cured, regardless of what Big Pharma or doctors want to say. By the way, recently a number of those naturopath doctors just died inexplicably and there is a conspiracy theory that Big Pharma poisons to kill them.

      Having said all of the above, the following are my own opinions and my own opinions only – research and make up your own mind.

      – If somebody is at a very late stage of cancer, don’t do chemo or radiation or surgery but rely on nutrition and even cannabis to ease their discomfort and pain and to prolong their life as long as they can so that they can see loved ones and arrange their personal affair.

      – If somebody is at a mid stage of cancer, do chemo/radiation/surgery to remove the bulk of the tumor and then use nutrition and supplements to eradicate and prevent cancer from coming back.

      – If somebody is at a very early stage of cancer then they still have time then they can use nutrition and supplements to treat cancer but do monitor themselves and make sure that they don’t get worse.

      – It also depends on the type of cancer. For prostate and thyroid cancers, for most cases and I stress the word “most”, do nothing as most people will die With those types of cancer and not because of it. This is even recommended by Harvard.

      Now I mention “supplements” several times along with nutrition. I know that most people and Dr G himself recommend the use of whole foods and not supplements. I don’t agree because you need the concentration of certain compounds and you also need the bioavailability that is made possible because of the process used by the supplement manufacturer. Of course you have to use good supplements. I know it from my own experiences with myself, my friends and relatives, and my 95 year old Dad who is kept alive and healthy thanks to the use of supplements on top of nutrition (which he eats very badly due to his “laziness”).

      1. Jerry Lewis: I used to work in Cancer Immunotherapy research. It appears that a plant-based diet CAN cure many cancers, simply by activating the immune system the same way we did in the lab using antibodies and drugs. Take the foot off the break (suppress T-regs) and hit the gas (upregulate killer T-cell activity) and you can cure cancer. I mean, that’s what the immune system is SUPPOSED to do. Weed out cancer cells so you don’t get sick. Everyone has at least one cancerous cell develop in their lifetime. The problem is when the immune system is compromised or gets ‘tricked’ into not seeing the cancer, and/or environmental factors promote its growth and then the cancer spreads. This is where food comes in.

        The problem is that the immune system is extremely difficult to manipulate. The big question always came down to autoimmunity. Cancer cells are technically ‘you’, but go too far and the immune system will start attacking everying. So how do you kill ‘you’ without killing you? Some of the most aggressive immunotherapies, such as IL-2 therapy, have to be done in the ICU because they’re so amazingly dangerous.

        I spent years in the lab trying to coax T-cells to kill cancer, where even a 20% cure rate was a “miracle” success, and the ultimate goal of clinicians wasn’t a cure, but maintenance: Living with the disease in stasis for the rest of your life. I didn’t find that acceptable.

        Every research paper I’ve seen on the effects plant-based diets have on cancer regression is like looking at what I saw in the lab, except supercharged beyond our wildest dreams. If I knew then what I knew now, I’d SERIOUSLY be pressing my PI to stop chasing after mediocre drug discoveries and try this instead, not that I think he would.

        There’s a lot of tunnel vision in the field and people who think outside the box are shunned like pariahs. I couldn’t even get them to admit that their treatments might be affecting other cells in the immune system besides T-cells. They were so laser focused on what happened in vitro with one cell type, they lost sight of the bigger picture once the treatments were used in whole organisms, even when none of their analysis could tell them why it worked (or didn’t). I eventually stopped trying to have those conversations. It was useless.

        So, to answer your concerns, yes, diet IS an amazing cure to many of the cancers people die from today. It really, really is.

        1. Hi Zeolee, thank you for your comment. I am one of the volunteer moderators on the website. When I see comments like yours who has had experience in working in medicine and come to realization about the power of food and nutrition and health, I like to say thank you for sharing your story. I thought you might like to see this video on boosting natural killer cells that Dr Greger has.
          Boosting Natural Killer Cell Activity

        2. Hi Zeolee, I am not a doctor nor a researcher but I am fairly familiar with Immunotherapy, because I invest in biotech stocks of companies such Juno Therapeutics of Seattle. The idea is to turn our own immune system against cancer cells but they have to do carefully or it will turn against our own healthy cells, and there are several deaths because of this. And the treatment is very expensive because it has to be tailored for each patient and not use one drug for everybody. For the above reasons, I lost interest in this technology only from a financial point of view and sold my stock, but not about the technology.

          So all this technology still boils down to using your own immune system to fight cancer. You don’t need to convince me but I already know that nutrition, in particular plant foods, are key to this.

          My qualm is about all those claims that you should not do chemo or radiation or surgery if one has cancer. Fine, I like this too because FDA drugs and surgery are something I want to avoid at all cost but give me some statistics. Even if it is 5%, I will go for it because chemo is like 1% or 0% success rate, and a lot of pain and side effects that comes along..

          I know that one of my co-workers had cancer since she was young, and now she is 60 year old and still survives. She did surgery to remove the big tumor but rely on nutrition and marijuana (before it was legalized in most states) to survive. But she does do surgery, I don’t know how many times in her life. So this is my n-1 sample and it is not scientific by any means.

          1. Thanks spring03! I’ll definitely watch that.

            Jerry, I saw you were interested in Steve Job’s cancer. Dr. McDougall did a great presentation on it a few years ago that gives a lot of insight into what actually happened. You might really find it interesting:

        3. ultimate goal of clinicians wasn’t a cure, but maintenance: Living with the disease in stasis for the rest of your life.

          That’s by far the best business model.

          And a perfect description of a successful parasite.

          I just consulted my online thesaurus for the word: leech.
          Oddly, here are some of the terms it came up with:

          attending physician
          Doctor of Medicine
          family doctor
          general practitioner
          house physician
          resident physician

          1. Doctors even today use leeches (and aren’t considered leeches themselves) in some situations. A friend’s son had to have a severed thumb reattached.
            They used leeches to keep circulation flowing to the thumb while it healed.

            1. I’m aware of the association, at least to historical practices of doctors with leeches. The thesaurus simply caught me off guard.

              Many of my friends have been doctors. Good people. But many doctors can in some ways be considered charlatans.

              Considering the effectiveness of diet against illness, and doctor’s general lack of knowledge (and often disregard) for it. And of course the dangerousness and often ineffectiveness of their preferred treatments.

              Many, like Dr. Greger, rise above their system-based educations. Far too many do not.

        1. That is what many physicians recommend as it can take up to 20 years to die of certain thyroid cancers. I would also see a naturopathic physician about IV vitamin C which does not work PO. One comment from a pathologist that I read said that cancer loves sugar and that he would avoid chemotherapy. The British NHS did a study on exercise which concluded that exercise was as good as the best treatment for almost any disease. Bicycle commuters have a 48% decrease in cancer and a 40% decrease in overall mortality. Psalms 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. God bless you in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, Kent J. Nauman ex-MD (axis I schizophrenia (chronic))

          1. I was monitored and then treated. I think it is irresponsible to suggest that one need not treat thyroid cancer for someone who may not have seen a physician because of the danger of metastases.

            1. A carefully applied strict vegan diet and extensive research may be the best treatment.

              Stay as far away from mainstream doctors as possible.

              There are others that don’t prescribe drugs.

              Especially for cancer. Oncologists are the most corrupt of all. Do your research.

    3. Hello, I seriously suggest you look up He has just completed a serious of podcasts on this subject. It is excellent with every detail covered from diagnosis to natural cure. I believe he calls it Square One

      Good luck, you will beat this if you follow his guidelines

    4. If she has only a 20% chance of surviving with surgery and a year without, what does she have to lose by skipping the surgery?

      If I were ever to have cancer again I would go on a very low methionine diet, or go to TrueNorth Health Center and do a medically supervised water only fast to starve the cancer of the methionine it requires to spread and grow. She can call there and talk with Dr Goldhamer to see if he thinks, with his 30 years of experience, that this could help her. It has helped many, but I don’t know how many had her type of cancer.

      Decisions like this are very personal. It’s important for the patient to feel they are doing the best thing they can for their survival and health. Whatever she chooses, please support her in her choices and be the best friend you can as she goes through her process.

    5. Like Jerry Lewis, I am divided on this one.

      By and large, alternative treatments are much hyped on the internet but have little credible scientific evidence to support them. And for every one person who recovered after alternative treatment alone and now promotes such an approach, we’ll probably never know how many people did the exact same thing and died. They simply aren’t around to tell us or make YouTube videos. This is called survivorship bias.

      However, studies do seem to show that spurning conventional treatment ups mortality risk eg
      “Overall, 78% of people having conventional treatment for cancer survived at least five years, compared to only 55% of people having alternative treatment alone. The difference was biggest for breast cancer, where people who chose alternative therapies were more than five times as likely to die within five years as those who chose conventional treatments.”

      On the other hand, in some advanced cancers with a poor prognosis, avoiding aggressive interventional treatments and opting for “comfort care” delivers increased survival time
      “As compared with patients receiving standard care, patients receiving early palliative care had less aggressive care at the end of life but longer survival.”

      I’d probably suggest seeking a second and perhaps even third opinion from other oncologists or physicians on an advice only basis – ie make it clear that you do not want treatment from them merely an opinion. This might remove any possibility of conscious or unconscious bias that might derive from an expectation of deriving fees or other income from providing treatment.

      Also be aware that physicians often suggest treatments because they practise defensive medicine and/or because they think it is important to provide hope to patients and their families,even if the chance of benefit is low and the side effects severe. One way to address this problem might be to ask the question “Which treatment option would you choose if you were in my position?”

      That said, a whole food plant based diet can only help whichever course is chosen.

      1. TG, you probably have heard that Steve Job is often blamed for not seeking conventional treatment but relying on naturopath for a long time until it’s too late when he seeked conventional treatment at the end. Ex President Carter have done chemo and radiation and some kind of experimental immunotherapy and his brain cancer seems to disappear. On the other hand, I have several of my relatives who died of cancer with a lot of pain and side effects during chemo treatment.

        And so I am leary of all of those so-called research articles because they can write in a way to fit their agenda and belief (such as the fat theory – sorry I cannot resist :)). Give me the statistics and then I believe. Why can’t those centers of alternate medicine publish some statistics to show their success rate and then I can believe?

        1. Much of the research is doctored to favor big pharma. Who can afford to subsidize a 2.6 billion dollar large, interventional double blind placebo controlled study? Only those who stand to profit by more than 2.6 billion dollars= Big pharma.
          They did a study right when laetrile came out, knowing that it doesn’t work as quickly as chemotherapy. So they tested it for 3 or 6 months, showing it didn’t work. Well it doesn’t work that quickly. Apricot pits, etc., take time. They got exactly what they wanted. No one has the $ to do the long study.

        2. Well, Jerry, yes I have heard the criticisms of Steve Jobs and his choice to use natural solutions. On the other hand, I have also heard that he actually survived considerably longer than most pancreatic cancer patient do …. “75 percent of patients die less than a year after diagnosis, and 94 percent die within five years”

          I also agree (!!!) with you that it would be a very good thing if those alternative medicine centres with big claims actually published their results in peer-reviewed journals. As it is, I am highly sceptical of those in the absence of solid evidence.

          But there are some stats that show chemotherapy is of low effectiveness in many cancers eg “The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.”

          That is a very famous study but it also big problems. For example, it excludes leukemias where chemotherapy has proved very effective. This commentary is worth reading.

          On balance, I distrust alternative medicine advocates and their claims. They seem to be characterised by sensationalism and poor quality evidence (if they have any at all – much of their argument seems to be based on half-baked conspiracy theories).

          Personally, I’d go for healthy diet and lifestyle as first line treatment supplemented by conventional medical treatment (unless credible research indicates that the treatment is unlikely to be successful and the side effects are seriously unpleasant).

          Unfortunately, I didn’t get an update that you had replied to my post and only found this by accident. So, please forgive me if I appear to be ignoring any other responses you may have made.

        3. The critics of Steve Jobs said that his pancreas cancer is curable (forever).

          TG, there are 2 main misconceptions about chemotherapy.

          1) Chemo drug is manmade, non natural.

          2) Chemo kills all cells, healthy and cancerous, alike.

          1) I don’t know about today chemo drug but the original drug came from the bark of oak tree. But it is not because it comes from nature then it is good to consume because we can have poisonous plant.

          2) It is true that chemo kills all cells but good chemo drugs will kill more cancerous cells than healthy cells. It depends on how good is your oncologist. Because he/she has to choose the right chemo drug and the correct dosage. For instance a chemo drug for breast cancer may be used for brain cancer, and vice versa, because the type of cancer tumor does not depend on where it happens.

          Read the following for more info on chemotherapy.

          On a different subject but related, researchers have now discovered a compound called NA+ which can stop aging by repairing DNA damage. They can double the lifetime of mouse in the lab and they are now doing trial on humans. The researcher also dream about a future NA+ drug some day that can cure many diseases. Let say if they are successful, will you take it? Do you consider it a drug or a food (nutrition)? For instance is turmeric a drug or a food? Clearly, you cannot eat turmeric for protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals. But you consume turmeric to fight inflammation for instance, but you may have inflammation in the first place for not eating right. So is turmeric a drug, albeit natural?

          I already eat foods that contain NA+ and take CoQ10 and reserveratrol supplements which are the same supplements that the researchers gave to mice.

          And last, the truth about cancer guys will have a (free) seminar soon. These guys are hard core anti chemo. You may want to register to watch it online. There are a few quackery videos but a lot of their videos about nutrition are good.

    6. Hi Liesbeth, there are many anecdotal cases where a clean, no oil WFPB diet has been enough to reverse certain cancers. Check out Dr. McDougall’s star mcdougaller, Ruth Heidrich’s story. There are many others you should be able to find. I myself have coached 4 people with stage 4 cancer’s to getting zero cancer on their scans. One woman was given a 30% chance of living 5 yrs. It only took her 4 months on my program to elimated it. 3 of the 4 chose to still do the chemo and radiation. I NEVER recommend they NOT use the traditional cut,burn, poison traditional treatments. I don’t want the Oncology industry or the FDA coming after me. One fellow with advanced prostate cancer did my program and decided himself not to do the traditional treatment at all. He’s fine now with no cancer. How I explain my program in regards to cancer is “Nutritional support” and “enabling the body to heal itself”. BTW, chemo is only 2% effective as determined by a metanalysis done. (see link) hope this helps your friend. Oh, PS if you or she hasn’t read it – please read the China Study’s ( by T. Colin Campbell), science done on cancer and nutrition. Hope this helps!

    7. Kathy, Yes, people can sometimes recover from cancer with the changes you mention. There aren’t any guarantees, of course, but doctors don’t give guarantees with their treatments, either.

      The book Radical Remissions tells the stories of 8-10 people who did revert their cancers using similar strategies.

      Another good resource is Chris Wark had a colorectal cancer at age 26. After surgery he refused chemo and got well with lots of things he did, including those things. He also has many survivor stories of others who have healed their own cancers. He also has a good list of questions to ask your oncologist so you can make a truly informed decision.

      Best of luck and angels to guide the way to your friend. It can work, maybe. It’s worth trying.

      Rebecca Cody Still thriving following treatment and diet change for an aggressive triple

    8. Chemo works in 4% of cases. And oncologists are the least ethical of all.
      Large numbers of oncologists admit they would not prescribe Chemo to their family or themselves. Yet it’s still the primary tool they use. (For which they get direct kickbacks.)

      Tell your friend to take Sulforaphane capsules and clean up the diet as you suggest. And check out as others have said.

      Stay far away from oncologists.

  4. Maslow and harlow. Maslow gave us brilliance. harlow gave us the soul destroying black hole of torture, that USDA FDA NIH pharma profit has been working with ever since.

  5. It is a bittersweet moment for myself as my old doctor has retired. He is a very nice fellow as a human but as a doctor, he wants to prescribe drugs to me whenever he can, and of course I refused every time and I demonstrate to him that I can cure myself with nutrition in the next visit. So there are a lot of conspiracy theories that doctors are out there to try to make money by subscribing drugs to their patients. or big Pharma is out to make drugs that kill people for profits, etc, etc. I don’t think it is the case, at least for my own doctor or doctor friends that I know. I think that they meant to do good but they lack training in nutrition in medical school and the entire country is engrained in the concept of new medical inventions for new drugs to cure diseases. I think that the execs of Big Pharma are using the same drugs that kill people, on themselves or their relatives and friends, whenever they get sick. There is no conspiracy here but just ignorance, or the belief that sciences can solve every problems.

    Ironically, sciences have progressed by leap and bound in the last century or so, but humans just start to understand the linkage between the gut and the brain just now, something that Traditional Chinese or Egyptian medicine had known for thousands of years.

    1. The best of doctors have been mislead, and don’t know what they’re doing. The other half are charlatans, corrupted by the system.

      Tons of great research is done daily. Most doctors ignore it.

      Tons of great research is done daily. Most doctors ignore it.

      Tons of great research is done daily. Most doctors ignore it.

  6. When I see Dr. McDougall with an X on his chest and the subtitle, “I’ll sue if you touch my heart” (paraphrase) I understand what is happening. Each of us has heard a horror story of a relative/friend who had “less than” care by the medical community. Yes, Dr. Greger, if these deaths were happening in any other walk of life, the public would be outraged and would be protesting in the streets of said industry. Imagine if the medical community actually treated each of its patient as if he/she were his daughter/son. They would “leap tall buildings at a single bound” to give the best possible care. Imagine…

    1. I think most doctors believe they are giving the best care, and they would prescribe similar things to their loved ones. They are simply ignorant of the fact that nutrition is the most powerful weapon against diseases and conditions in most cases – at least chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Much of their education, in both medical school and especially after they are in practice, comes from Big Pharma. I think most of them believe that’s all they can do and that nutrition isn’t very helpful. That belief comes from confusion about nutrition. There are many people out there promoting supplements that don’t work, diets that make themselves rich through their books, but kill people who follow the diets too long, etc.

      Thank you, Dr G, and all the other plant based “rock stars” who are getting the word out. There is a shift happening, and even gaining momentum, but it will take getting enough critical mass of people who understand it before big change happens. Movements like this take longer than we want to spread widely, but change is underway.

      1. Unlike drugs, nutritional therapy side effects are good for you.

        Drug side effects poison and kill.

        If we spent as much on nutrition research as we do for drug research we’d hardly ever get sick.

  7. Years ago now I used a clock radio as my morning alarm. I awoke one morning with National Public Radio news story discussing a recent survey conducted by Harvard Medical School. The survey was questioning the med students as to how they were feeling about their education so far in their medical training program. The overall grade? D+. Their overall #1 complaint? They felt they were not being trained to heal but were being trained how to prescribe drugs.
    I listened to NPR that entire day to re-listen to that broadcast (this was before internet) and never heard it again. It is my suspicion that it was pulled from the airwaves.
    I see this as an example of the power of the pharmaceutical industry. They ‘own’ the medical schools. And until individuals take action nothing will change.
    I remember reading Dr. Esselstyne’s book on preventing heart disease. In it he relays a conversation he had with a cardiologist and asked his colleague why he didn’t recommend a plant based diet to his patients for heart disease reversal. The response from his colleague: “Have you seen my billables?” The “physician” billed out half a million is services per year. Anti-incentive for genuine care is built into our system. In other countries, the salary is controlled by the government. But the physician education is free. So the physician is not accumulating a half-million in debt before beginning to practice. Anyone interested in seeing how other countries provide better care than America AND keep the costs under control might want to read The Healing of America by T. R. Reid. He talks about how other countries manage this situation without putting their patients at risk while providing good care. Better care, in fact, than we get here in the US with the highest cost in the world. Obamacare and Insurance isn’t the problem – the problem is the continuing rising of the cost of care which is incentivized by the medical “care” system. Read about that in T. R. Reid’s book and you’ll wonder why we continue to put up with it.

    1. While our system in Canada is not perfect, I do have great compassion for this situation for the fine citizens of the USA who are almost powerless over these conspiracies for profit at the cost of their lives. My heart goes out to you all.

    2. Guest, I know you didn’t mention any countries in particular, and I haven’t T.R. Reid’s book yet. But when usually when people talk about government run healthcare systems, France is often mentioned as being the gold standard. What usually isn’t mentioned is the fact that the French have long had a high prescription drug use rate, such as anti-depressants. I remember seeing a study a few years ago that said 1 in 3 adults in France were on prescribed psychotropic medications.

      When I lived there, other expats & I would joke about how there’s a pharmacy every 10 feet because they were all hypochondriacs. Our French friends were always running to the doctor for every little thing, even for just the common cold. Social charges garnered from paychecks to fund their healthcare system are high, so people want to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. While the French & US healthcare systems may be vastly different in many ways, the French system is also a well-oiled machine run by big pharma.

      1. WFPB Nancy, you are right. I hear the same from others in Europe. National healthcare would totally bankrupt the United States. The number of sick people, caused by their terrible diets, is rising. Even kids have diabetes now, and some are being given statins.

        1. And you know that the whole health debacle in this country started with the false cholesterol and saturated fat theories in the 70s which cause people to use statin to “lower their cholesterol” which triggers CHD that they try to prevent in the first place because it weaken the heart muscle. And then the consumption of sugar because people are afraid of eating fat and have to eat sugar to have energy, is creating the diabetes epidemic. And the consumption of vegetable oil in the name of low fat and no saturated fat, is causing all kind of inflammation symptom including cancer.

          Before 1970, when people had no concept of WFPB and barely ate vegetables except for some lousy lettuce and cucumber, and people ate butter and bacon and egg normally, there was barely any diseases except from smoking.

          1. Oh Jerry, this is simply nonsense that is promulgated by cranks on the internet It is just untrue. I really don’t know why you choose to believe the claims of crackpots and ignore the actual facts.

            In fact, the US, heart disease death rates peaked in the late 1960s (1968 and 1969) and have been declining ever since. People in the US had high rates of disease before 1970 and a lower life expectancy.

            And all the evidence shows that people who eat in accordance with dietary guidelines such as eating more vegetables, fruit and whole grains and lowering saturated fat and cholesterol assumption, have lower mortality than people who don’t follow the dietary guidelines eg

              1. Seconding the point. If concerns re cholesterol are “false,” how do you square this?

                “The best cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can do here is an absolute risk reduction of 3.1% over six years. A whole foods plant-based diet has been shown to work twenty times better–an absolute risk reduction of 60% after less than four years. Overall, 99.4% of patients who stuck with the diet avoided major cardiac events, such as death from heart attack.”


    3. T R Reid’s book must be made COMPULSORY reading for everyone in Congress to understand problem with our healthcare.

      Our main problem is “For-Profit” insurance companies. Their CEO needs to make profit for their shareholders. Same CEO is also expected to provide us health care because we have paid premium to him. This is CONFLICT OF INTERST, so obvious, yet not many talk about it!!

      Then those insurance companies management spend about 5 to10% more than what Medicare spends to do the same thing for our seniors of more than 65 years.

      So our premiums suffer two assaults.
      1. Profits to shareholders and
      2. Over expenditure by managers.

      It is no wonder that despite we are spending almost double than many countries, our care is not up to the mark.

      Have Medicare for ALL. Problem solved.

      1. Not the answer. For one thing, Medicare no longer pays for that much. That’s why most people have other insurance. Many doctors won’t even accept patients who only have Medicare.
        People need to start taking responsibility for themselves. There should be a group insurance available that does not include ‘lifestyle’ diseases available. That would be affordable by most people. There just isn’t enough money to pay for the expensive care many people think they are entitled to, while they ignore the changes they personally need to make.

    4. The (US) Commonwealth Fund has done an annual ranking of health care system effectiveness in advanced countries for quite a few years now. The latest (2017) assessment found that the US rank3d bottom:

      “This report compares health care system performance in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
      Methods: Seventy-two indicators were selected in five domains: Care Process, Access, Administrative Efficiency, Equity, and Health Care Outcomes. Data sources included Commonwealth Fund international surveys of patients and physicians and selected measures from OECD, WHO, and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. We calculated performance scores for each domain, as well as an overall score for each country.
      Key findings: The U.S. ranked last on performance overall, and ranked last or near last on the Access, Administrative Efficiency, Equity, and Health Care Outcomes domains. The top-ranked countries overall were the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands. Based on a broad range of indicators, the U.S. health system is an outlier, spending far more but falling short of the performance achieved by other high-income countries.”

  8. Yesterday, I introduced a new brochure that my cardiologist husband approved for me to use to educate patients about the option of a whole food plant based diet to improve their health.

    He made a statement in the brochure that said he believed in its benefits and hoped patients would consider it as part of their lifestyle health choices. He is required to promote evidenced based information and indeed we have a great resource through Dr. Greger and others.

    To my complete and utter surprise, when I was assisting a patient to the room and introduced myself as an RN, and showed the brochure, the patient actually said that he was very interested in this information because his uncles and his father never made it to 60 due to heart attacks. He is not 58 and want help.

    Why did this surprise me? because as a Primary Care Nurse, I have been disheartened by the multiple ways in which patients defend their unhealthy lifestyles despite the pain and suffering that they would rather have to keep those unhealthy habits. And yet, here was an encouraging glimmer of hope.
    I was completely caught off guard, I must say.

    But sadly, the next day, the same patient called me and asked me to explain why his wife’s farm based relatives, who ate meat, fat and eggs lived to be 90+?

    All I could say is that wellness is complex. You go with your own life, your risk and your genetics. We do not have to be victims of our genetics but there is compelling evidence that we can change the game through healthier lifestyle choices.

    So I will see what happens.

    A proud monthly supporter of

    1. Hi again,
      Just me wanting to say that actually, it was not sad the patient called and asked those questions. They were good questions and he had every right to be suspicious when he saw the other evidence before him.

      Maybe one day we will answer the question about the anecdotes of the person who, “ate steak everyday, smoked, drank whiskey and live to be 95”. I do wonder about what the quality of life was for that long lived person. Did they have energy? Where they achy or not? Did they in fact like living that long? I have taken care of people in their 80-90s who did look relatively functional and well outside of their heart attack. Great to have mysteries yet to unfold.

      1. Bobbi,

        good question. Jeanne Calment has the longest confirmed human lifespan. She was a smoker. The secret is probably genetic resistance. Some people can simply “do what they want” and their body will still be able to repair the DNA. And someone can live in the moutains, breath the cleanest air and still develop lung cancer. You might want to take a look at the Living Forever: The Longevity Revolution documentary, I find it very interesting.

        Hope this helps,

        Moderator Adam P.

    2. I hear this all the time. Here’s my take: It’s based on risk and never 100% defined. Example: No one now doubts that cigarette smoking significantly increases the risk for early death, yet there are a few patients that smoke 3 packs of cigs per day their entire lives and live into their 90’s. Does that prove that cigarettes don’t cause early death? Heck no! Same goes for eggs/meat/dairy. Frequent egg consumption is associated with a 20% increase risk of cardiovascular disease. That basically means that out of a 100 people, on average, 20 more people will end up with a cardiovascular event (stroke, MI, etc) as compared to a group of 100 people not eating eggs. This could be compared to putting a “5-shooter” pistol to your head with one bullet in it, spinning the barrel a la Russian Roulette, and pulling the trigger (1 in 5 = 20%). As Dirty Harry said “Do you feel lucky?” I don’t, so I don’t eat eggs. Now that’s just eggs. The other foods are additive and make the odds much worse, and we haven’t even started talking about “all cause mortality” which would include cancer. So the risk mounts. One final thought: we have no idea what the relatives on the farm ate or how long they lived for, and I’ll bet your patient doesn’t really know either. As you alluded to already: people will say anything to rationalize their ingrained habits which is the short answer to this question.

      Dr. Ben

  9. Dr. Greger, I have an observation and a couple of questions about Dr. Starfield. First, it seems she was using her own health care as a test for death by blindly following a doctor’s protocol. She was a docotor. She noted negative observations. Why did she continue following her own doctor’s protocol? O.k…I am not a doctor, but if I were in her shoes, and I value my life, and my contributions to life, family and society, then I think an intellegent person would avoid suicide by doctor. There must be more to this story. If the third leading cause of death in the U.S., is death by doctor or protocol of medical doctor, we consumers of heath care can not abdicate our responsibility. We have to learn and practice preventative care first, then continue proactive care throughout our lives. What an interesting yet mind boggling case Dr. Starfield represents. There must be more to this story that I’m not getting.

  10. Not to mention lack of basic hand washing, believe it or not! Secondly, doctors get drug info from drug reps (isn’t that honest and reliable). Also, doctors have no time to really listen. Just a prescription pad and messy handwriting. If you question some of them, arrogance and fear monging appear. Finally, no knowledge of nutrition and prevention. I am blessed with Dr. Kumar Sidhartha, fellow graduate of WFPB nutrition at eCornell, and well educated in prevention with nutrition. Change is slowly happening thanks to you, Dr. G, and the amazing information out there for everyone. Change is often grassroots, along with doctors willing to step outside the box and educate us all.

  11. Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest health care organizations in the US, has officially been recommending plant based diets as of late. So there are some glimmers of hope beginning.

    But it is still up to us to make the change, improve our individual health, and then share how we did it with others. No one can argue with me when I show them my improved blood work and disease reversal.

  12. It is hard not to chime in on this topic. After spending 42 years in medicine as a psychiatrist and multiple efforts to get people to improve there life situation, I feel it is very difficult task. They may start an effort to walk, to eat better to destress but any sustained effort is infrequent. Best opportunity was after some major event with their physical or mental health. Yet we must keep trying to inform people of better choices.

  13. I just started reading Dr. G’s memoir Heart Failure: Diary of a Third Year Medical Student (see the link above). It’s both funny & poignant at the same time. Much gratitude to you, Dr. G, for hanging in there, staying the course, & doing what you do.

  14. Nice video. If we hold my profession accountable for the deaths that can be avoided by developing systems of care to support healthier lifestyles I believe you can easily make a case that we are the #1 leading cause of death in the country. Given the causes of avoidable disability I believe you can make a case for the medical industry to being the leading cause of disability as well. Very sad. I encourage everyone to keep subscribed to and keep up with the latest science. After gaining the best and latest science I would align your behaviors to lower your risk of premature death and disability.

  15. Thanks for your article. Dr. Peter Gøtzsche wrote a book – Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime – published in 2013 in which
    he has issues with big pharma more than physicians for being the third leading cause of death. Medical education, as I have personally
    experienced it, should be listed as a leading cause, also. Diagnosis and treatment were always discussed; rarely prevention.
    Dr. Gøtzsche’s book, I think, may help eliminate the “silence” we hear.

    1. Deadly Medicines is one of the latest in a huge genre of books.

      One of the first to risk speaking of this was a journalist, Robert Whitaker. One of his most recent books is Anatomy of an Epidemic.

      In about 2014, I got hissed at at a National Association for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) meeting for inviting them to a Re-Thinking Psychiatry workshop organized by mothers and others. I had bought a life membership to NAMI years before, as a sandwich person between generations of emotionally challenged family members and friends. It took me years to figure out the real situation with them. My life donation was nothing compared to what they were getting from what I now refer to as pHarma. The psychiatry industry is one of the easiest to indict.

      Nonetheless, outspoken researchers are continuing to speak out on other issues as well, and I am heartened that it is becoming more attended to as mass media loses credibility.

  16. “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”—Albert Einstein

    “There can be no justification for causing suffering to animals simply to serve man’s pleasure or simply to enhance man’s lifestyle.”- The Dean of York

    “We live in imaginary, virtual worlds created by corporations that profit from our deception.” – Chris Hedges

  17. In epidemiology bio-statistical analysis, one must consider the systems we live in. There is a matter of cultural scale which mainstream institutional medicine & present-day natural-science medicine are both inarticulate in applying. To correct the situation of iatrogenic illness or bad medicine & doctor caused illness, one must come to grips with where in the system, we are applying our efforts. Both groups are trying to change things from the top-down in large institutions, financed by government or corporate managers. Hierarchal dysfunction, begins with the start of top-down ‘exogenous’ (Latin ‘other-generated’) colonialism violence against people & biosphere, 7000 years ago in Babylon, beginning a self-destructive & degrading process of invading & destroying ancient ‘indigenous’ (L ‘self-generating’) bottom-up cultures, which create economic-ecological poverty & refugees who continue to repeat this self-defeating dilemma.

    All humanity’s indigenous ancestors on every continent & island cultivated bottom-up critical-mass economies-of-scale to begin with in the ~100 person clustered MULTIHOME-DWELLING-COMPLEX (Longhouse/apartment, Pueblo/townhouse & Kanata/village). As today each dwelling was private for residents but within close walking proximity meant to enable intergenerational female-male interdisciplinary collaboration. 70% of today’s American, Canadian & worldwide populations live in multihomes. The average size of multihomes is 32 dwelling-units or ~100 people, but in the amnesia caused by colonial violence, we have forgotten multihome cultural practices, accounting-recognition systems, participatory governance etc. Typically each multihome today represents one million dollars of earning & spending on the part of poor people & up to 50 million dollars on the part of the rich. Collective kitchens, dining-halls, child-elder coordination, cultural preventative medical specialists, ecological services such as rain-water collection, grey-water recycling, bio-digestion methanization, composting, Polyculture Orchard gardening, green-roofs & 100s of other cultural infrastructures are affordably productive within multihomes.

    100 person Multihomes are a ‘fractal’ (multipliers) where the intimacy of people knowing each other & diversity of group talents, goods & services enable: appropriate medical interventions tailored to each person based in interdisciplinary assessments of their condition, continuity of care & knowledge of results. Humanity’s worldwide indigenous ancestors eating plant based diets & living in thriving biospheres also cultivated what in western Africa Alex Haley author of his family’s history in the book ‘Roots’ called ‘Griots’ who were adept & responsible for the history of their community members going back 1000s of years, with reference to relationships, food, herbs, lifestyle & events. In comparison, the average North-American urban suburban medical facility has a reliable memory of about 15 years on paper but without intimacy. In multihomes people can develop powerful team approaches to the challenges before us.

    1. Thanks so much for posting this. I expresses how I feel though I did not know how to articulate it. I moved to Mexico because I must have agency in care of my own health. Although many of the ills of U.S. culture are now hugely here as well, this is a place where one is seldom castigated for personal choices about food, medicine, art, and culture, at least in Tulum, where I have chosen to be.

      I am not alone in making this move. I expect the CIA, et al, are trying to track the migration patterns.

      Where you find, ex-pats in this part of Mexico, you will find many of the good things from U.S. culture. Health-food stores, gyms, and AA I count as good.

      Maybe it is this medical-tourism phenomenon that will change U.S. medicine, eventually, more than any number of “studies.”

      The clients/consumers/im-patients are paying attention, even if the industry is not.

      1. Mary Saunders, Thanks for sharing about expat Americans in Mexico contributing to their communities. 1969 – 80 I lived among Dukobour, Mennonite & Quaker communities in British Columbia’s West Kootenays. Several thousand American pacifists, typically community builders from their home communities, who refused to kill in Vietnam, settled among these traditional pacifist communities. I got to participate in very active community projects, designing & building a community centre, designing & building ecologically designed buildings, helping to develop BC’s Fed-up Natural Food Co-op Network, organic orcharding & gardening, herbology, mushrooms, BC’s Uranium Moratorium, Pollution-Control, Participatory multistakeholder investment & ownership in Pulp & paper, Community Tree-Farm licences, Health & Safety in Reforestation, bringing back the original Sinixt 1st Nation to the Kootenays, Community home schooling & much more.

        It was an old Dukobour friend George Podmorov who came over in 1899 on the boat at 5 years old, during our many talks, ‘knocked-my-socks-off’, when he described how the three traditional pacifist communities had lost their way in ‘going-back-to-the-land’. George shared with me his research how all had originally joined for peace reasons in their respective Russia, Germany & English cities. They moved because of pressures, but their / our work is really contextualized within activating the urban cultures which we are formed in. His statements in his late 70s quite shocked my ‘activist’ institutional understandings. It was only through my continuing solidarity-work & studies with 1st that; I understand how ‘indigenous’ (Latin ‘self-generating’) cultural animism helps realize urban community empowerment through the multihome-dwelling-complex where 70% of humanity now live.

        ‘INDIGENOUS’ (Latin ‘self-generating’) RELATIONAL-ECONOMY on every continent & island of the world was fractally designed as intimate & traceable beyond even the inarticulate vision of blockchain open-source. Indigenous peoples organized 100 person inter-generational female-male multihome-dwelling-complex living in proximity with privacy as a 1st ‘fractal’ (‘part-contains-the-whole’) of human authority, specialized trades with Production-Society/Guilds starting with the Vision-Quest of youth across one’s lifetime among one’s co-owning comrades. Indigenous string-shell (eg. Wampum, Quipu & Cowrie shell) time-based-accounting used on every continent & every island of the world recorded domestic, industrial & commercial contributions towards ‘Capital’ ownership, Currency compensation, Condolence social-security, Collegial mentored-apprenticeship education, Costume identification, Communication with time-based mathematical analysis.
        All based democracy in our economic livelihood. As we treat the biosphere with care & respect, so we treat our relations & our mind .
        International ‘indigenous’ law according to ‘Great-good-way-of-kindness’ aka ‘Great-Law-of-Peace’ aka ‘Constitution’ aka ‘Kaianerekowa’ (Iroquois Haudenosaunee) aka ‘Ubuntu’ (Nguni southern Africa ‘Human-Kindness’) aka Swadeshi (Hindi ‘Indigenous’ aka ‘Self-sufficiency’) is the sovereign human law on earth. ‘Exogenous’ (L ‘other-generated’) colonial invading nations are based in a faulty mathematical understanding of ‘money’ (Greek ‘mnemosis’ = ‘memory’), which is supposed to be system of memory for all contributions to our collective well-being.

  18. Thanks for the important writeup. There seems to be a bit of naivete involved, though.

    Of course they did nothing. Those millions of deaths were preceded by illness and by medical treatment.

    Treatment that represents millions if not billions of dollars of profit.

    Medicine is a for-profit business. Perhaps someday we’ll switch to single-payer health care like the rest of the world and begin to make it nonprofit. That will probably save lots of lives.

    1. Looking at all of the failed Socialist systems in the world throughout history, I don’t agree
      that Socialized healthcare (Single-Payer System) is the way to go. Just look at some
      recent examples of failed socialist medical systems: Venezuela and Cuba. And because
      they used the same socialist system for the rest of the economy also, the entire country
      is in shambles. Even the European mild socialist medical systems don’t really work that
      well and have long wait times for non-emergency medical care. Every time socialist
      systems are tried, it ends up in long waiting lines and apathetic workers! It’s only human
      nature that people are not going to work hard without correspondingly increasing

      I think the main problem with the US healthcare system is the misuse of insurance. The
      original concept of insurance was meant to cover only unexpected catastrophes. When
      one thinks about it, isn’t insurance just a mild form of socialism: everyone puts their
      money in a big pot, and then draws on it when they need it. The problem is that
      everyone has a different meaning of the word “need”! When people start expecting that
      “everything” is covered by insurance, and on top of that, advertising convinces everyone
      that modern medicine/drugs can cure everything, then they become complacent about
      their health with the attitude, “if I get sick, I’ll just go to the doctor and get some of
      those wonderful pills to cure me!”

      When they find out that the pills don’t work, they start searching for the miracle diet
      cure. That’s where the charlatan diet folks step in and cash in on people’s gullibility. If
      they are really lucky, then they run across this NutritionFacts website or the book, How
      Not to Die, and find the “pot of gold” in the field of nutrition! And if they seriously follow
      the science here, their health improves dramatically.

      I certainly don’t have all the answers as to how to fix things, but my experience and
      observations tell me it has to be based on individual responsibility. When people have to
      actually pay out of their pocket for medical care, just like most other things that they
      buy, then they will start paying attention to their health. Of course, it may be too late to
      “turn back the clock”. Usually when systems evolve to the state that we’re now in, they
      “collapse” and are eventually replaced with something else. Who knows, maybe going
      back and following the original intent of the US Constitution may be a good start :-)

  19. Not sure how much bandwidth you have to cover the Canadian market, but would love to hear your thoughts on this… Health Canada is rewriting it’s ‘food plate/pyramid/guide’…

    Love the fact based approach you take to health. If only we got such reasoned, non-biased information about every aspect of our collective health/medical/wellness worlds.

    Thank you for the public service you provide.

  20. As an MD, I am not at all surprised by this article. I don’t recall one nutrition course or preventative medicine training in the years where there was no limit to medical student’s, intern’s, or resident’s hours when 120 hours in a week was not uncommon, fatigue worse than intoxication, yet it stated on my paycheck 36 hours/week, and I made $16,000/year. But I became tired of bad outcomes, and worked extremely hard on learning nutrition, exercise strategies, lifestyle management, meditation and relaxation techniques. Unfortunately US citizens are often brainwashed by all their devices, telling them about the great wonders of medications and quick fixes. Some people are willing to learn and work hard but I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard “doc why won’t my amputation heal” after seeing that person smoking in the parking lot, or “why won’t my sugars come down” with drawers stuffed with candy bars from home. I provided smoking cessation counselors, nutritionists, etc., backing up their recommendations on my rounds. Health care in the USA is about profit. Just look how successful universal healthcare systems can be in countries like Japan where health care is less than half the cost yet they are some of the healthiest long lived people on earth. We just can’t stand around blaming everybody. We must fix all the systems; healthful school lunches and lifestyle education at all school levels, ban drug advertisements, universal healthcare, better education for doctors and the public, independent government funded research with the meddling influence of big Pharma and big food out of the picture. For now it is up to individuals like Dr Greger as our present government is in the pockets of big business. The newest Republican healthcare farce plan is even worse.

  21. Found it ironic that all of Gregor’s email go to my inbox but for some reason this one wa filtered to my spam, as if it were trying to be silienced…

    1. Steve, funny you should mention that. I stopped receiving daily emails from NF all together for nearly a month. I had to sign up again twice before I was able to receive them again. I was thinking the same thing you said about being silenced.

  22. Darwin Galt, I agree with everything you said except for 2 details:

    The first is that not all single payer systems are socialized medicine. The French do no consider their system as being socialist & view their system as being far superior to socialized systems, such as the UK & Canada. It’s a mixture of both public & private systems. The gov’t generally covers 80%, and the rest is paid out of pocket or by a supplemental insurance called a ‘mutuel’ that is either offered by an employer or purchased by individuals.

    The 2nd point is that insurance is not just a mild form of socialism, where everyone puts their
    money in a big pot, and then draws on it when they need it. It would probably be a little more efficient if that’s the way it really worked. However, the industry is designed to take in as much money as possible & pay out as little as they legally can. So it’s not surprising that insurance companies are finally starting to get on board with the WFBP way of life with Kaiser Permanente being the first.

    Everything else I agree with, especially about individual responsibility. I’m surrounded by people who know that WFPB is the healthiest diet but who think they could never change their bad habits. Most are overweight, sedentary, & on statins & arthritis medications. If their own health & well being isn’t motivation enough for them to change, then what is? Maybe basing premiums on BMI, BP, cholesterol, & other factors that can be measured & kept track of? You lose weight, & drop your BP for X amount of time without taking medications, & your premium goes down.

  23. Dr. Greger,
    I love the article and your willingness to challenge the status quo. Your work is inspirational and motivates me to continue to pursuit personal and professional growth.
    Barbara Starfield and her early work inspired me towards primary care. Your team’s ongoing dedication and though-provocation is going to help save countless lives. Keep it up!

  24. Hi Doc, I believe your stats re physician errors as the third highest cause of death in the USA are incorrect. 120 deaths per day is about 43,800 per year. Per CDC mortality stats for 2014, suicide came in at about 42,800 deaths or 1.6% of total deaths or #10 on the list. Hence doctor caused deaths are at worst #9 on this mortality list. But if factoring in accidental deaths from prescription side effects and overdoses, especially opiates, indirectly caused by drs and if taken by about half of our 400 million folk, the ranking of physician-caused deaths may move up but is unlikely to get to the number 3 spot held by cancer at 590,000.

  25. Concerning how to decrease iatrogenic mortality, if you do an internet search for images of “medical records rooms” you can find hundreds of pictures of lateral shelves filled with scribbled paper charts. When I was at Georgetown U. Med. Sch. from 1973-77, I was told to resist computerization of the medical records which was just coming in and is still just about to be implemented. Force computerization of the medical records in Dr. Weed’s S.O.A.P. format with required date, time, and signature. (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan). Then use real-time diagnostic and statistical audits to decrease the 40±10% over usage of surgery etc. Our healthcare cost/GDP is far higher than any other developed nation. Be prepared for hospital bankruptcy.

    1. It is theoretically possible to gag gag orders.

      By doing this, a state could deal with known issues better than one lawsuit-with-gag-order at a time.

      It would require dealing with present harm systemically.

      The damage in some fields is so obvious, we could be approaching this remedy.

      1. I did not understand your comment, however, concerning gag orders, they are not going away as courts use them in divorce cases where parents are using children as weapons.

  26. when I started out my internship, I worked 36 hour shifts every three days, 117-hour work weeks.

    117/7 = 17 hours per day!
    but 36 hours every 3 days comes to 72 hours for 6 days.

    1. You left out that you do get to sleep some in a bed when on call. The longest shift I ever worked was 48 hours. The first thing to go is the ciliary muscle which can be rested by closing one eye for a time then the other eye for a time. If you compare Moses talking to a burning bush and Saul of Tarsus talking to a dead man on the road to Damascus to “DSM religion delusion” on the internet you will find that both were “Mega-schizophrenics” God bless you in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, Kent J. Nauman ex-MD (axis I schizophrenia (chronic))

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