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Politics in Healing

By Daniel Haley


The struggle between good and evil is a common theme. In moderm cinema evil has often claimed the souls of corporate or government leaders, while good is embodied in one or two individuals who "take on City Hall," trying to right a wrong or give voice to the truth. In the movies the good guys usually prevail, as it makes us all happy to see good triumph over evil. Very few cheer for evil over good.

When the movie ends and we return to the daylight of real life, a strange phenomenon occurs. We suspend belief in the struggles between good and evil. What was so real, so believable, so contemporary on the screen only moments ago inexplicably disappears as we walk to our cars. We delude ourselves with the comfortable notion that real life does not embody such stark differences between good and evil. We see only various shades of gray.

Why do we do this? Why do we deny the presence of good and evil when they are so clearly and believably expressed in art? Surely it is because acknowledgement of real-life evil is uncomfortable.

Daniel Haley has written a very important book about the medical profession, detailing the struggles between good and evil as no one ever has before.

Of course, others have been written about scientific discovery and the titanic struggles of ego and belief systems over the ages. We know about the travails of Galileo, how the Catholic Church threatened him with torture if he did not recant his thesis that the earth was round. Galileo recanted, publicly embracing the prevailing view that the earth was flat and was the center of the universe, and for the last eight years of his life was kept under house arrest by the Church. And Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, who was ridiculed for his crusade to convince his colleagues that their failure to wash their hands before assisting women in childbirth was the cause of the infections that killed over half of the women giving birth during that time. He died in an insane asylum.

But was the Catholic Church, the reigning authority of Galileo's day, evil? Were the physicians of Semmelweis' era? Many would say they were, but I would not be so harsh in judgment. Virtually every scientific discovery over the ages has met a wall of resistance vested in the prevailing belief system and buttressed by rigid bias, dead set - often viciously so - against the innovation and the innovator.

On the other hand, the struggles chronicled in Daniel Haley's book are different. Here a common pattern emerges. The authority figures first recognize and thus acknowledge the value of the discovery. Next, they try to separate the innovator from his discovery, to essentially steal it, usually with a profit motive in mind. And finally, without fail, they pursue a no-holds-barred course to destroy the discoverer. This, ladies and gentlemen, is evil.

As you read this book, you may find some of the episodes Daniel Haley relates hard to believe. You may ask yourself could the author, in his zealousness to make his point, have massaged the data or fabricated these horrendous events?

The answer is no. Incredible as these stories may seem, they are true. This book is very well researched and extensively documented. The information comes from numerous newspaper accounts, court records, evidence presented at jury trials, and, in some cases, testimony from people who were helped by the therapies.

The test of the veracity of this book for me was how the author handled the case of Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D. I have very personal experience with the struggles of Dr. Burzynski, having visited his clinic five times, spoken with numerous patients who survived terminal cancer as a result of his therapy, and interviewed his major Opponents in the FDA and academic medicine. I know that this account is accurate. If anything, it understates the energy and force that the government used in trying to destroy Dr. Burzynski. Only the evil will try to destroy a man and his medicine at the same time that they're trying to steal it from him.

For those who want stories to have a happy ending, this book is not an easy read, for evil often wins over good. Valuable therapies have been buried, sick people have been sacrificed, and the lives of innovative scientists and physicians have been shattered. However, this book does much more than tell tales that need to be told. First, it can put you on guard as to what the face of evil actually looks like. It identifies individuals and organizations such as the American Cancer Society that are not worthy of our trust and certainly not our money.

It can also be used as a blueprint for researching your options and protecting yourself should you become ill. All too often individuals with serious cancers who go the accepted route of chemotherapy and radiation suffer not only from cancer, but also from a lack of understanding as to how the medical profession functions and how it has turned its back on its mission.

Finally, this book can serve as a call for action. It makes you want to go out and start a crusade to change things and Haley, a one-time legislator, spells out specifically what needs to be changed. How long are we going to tolerate authority figures who at will, if not at whim, destroy innovation? I am convinced that the best protection against the evil that lurks among us - and make no mistake that it lurks among us - is information. Daniel Haley's contribution is as good a start as you're likely to find.

Julian Whitaker, M.D.

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