Books like Dr Glasser's put the true perspective on modern medicine. There are many others on the topic that would put the fear of death in you, perhaps the most informative one on the subject being Confessions of a Medical Heretic by Doctor Robert S. Mendelsohn of Chicago (Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1979).

Dr Mendelsohn was in medical practice for over thirty-five years; he was Chairman of the Medical Licensing Committee of the State of Illinois and the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in medicine and medical instruction. At the time of writing his book he was the Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Illinois, and in the introduction to his book he had this to say:

"I do not believe in Modern Medicine, I am a medical heretic. My aim in this book is to persuade you to become a heretic, too.

I haven't always been a medical heretic. I once believed in Modern Medicine.

In medical school, I failed to look deeply into a study that was going on around me, of the effects of the hormone DES--because I believed. Who could have suspected that twenty years later we would discover that DES causes vaginal cancer and genital abnormalities in children born to women receiving the drug during pregnancy?

I confess that I failed to be suspicious of oxygen therapy for premature infants, even though the best equipped and most advanced premature nurseries had an incidence of partial or total blindness of around ninety per cent of all low birth weight infants. A few miles away, in a large, less "advanced" hospital, the incidence of this condition--retrolental fibroplasia--was less than ten per cent. I asked my professors in medical school to explain the difference. And I believed them when they said the doctors in the poorer hospital just didn't know how to make the correct diagnosis.

A year or two later it was proved that the cause of retrolental fibroplasia was the high concentrations of oxygen administered to the premies. The affluent medical centers had higher rates of blinding simply because they could afford the very best nursery equipment: the most expensive and modern plastic incubators which guaranteed that all the oxygen pumped in reached the infant. At the poorer nurseries, however, old-fashioned incubators were used. They looked like bathtubs with very loose metal lids. They were so leaky that it made very little difference how much oxygen was pumped in: not enough reached the infant to blind it.

I still believed when I took part in a scientific paper on the use of the antibiotic Terramycin in treating respiratory conditions in premature babies. We claimed there were no side-effects. Of course there weren't. We didn't wait long enough to find out that not only didn't Terramycin--or any other antibiotic--do much good for these infections, but that it--and other tetracycline antibiotics--left thousands of children with yellow-green teeth and tetracycline deposits in their bones.

And I confess that I believed in the irradiation of tonsils, lymph nodes, and the thymus gland. I believed my professors when they said that of course radiation was dangerous, but that the doses we were using were absolutely harmless.

Years later--around the time we found out that the "absolutely harmless" radiation sown a decade or two before was now reaping a harvest of thyroid tumors--I couldn't help wondering when some of my former patients came back with nodules of their thyroids: Why are you coming back to me? To me, who did this to you in the first place?

But I no longer believe in Modern Medicine.

I believe that despite all the super technology and elite bedside manner that's supposed to make you feel about as well cared for as an astronaut on the way to the moon, the greatest danger to your health is the doctor who practices Modern Medicine.

I believe that Modern Medicine's treatments for disease are seldom effective, and that they're often more dangerous than the diseases they're designed to treat.

I believe the dangers are compounded by the widespread use of dangerous procedures for non-diseases.

I believe that more than ninety per cent of Modern Medicine could disappear from the face of the earth--doctors, hospitals, drugs and equipment--and the effect on our health would be immediate and beneficial.

I believe that Modern Medicine has gone too far, by using in everyday situations extreme treatments designed for critical conditions.

Every minute of every day Modern Medicine goes too far, because Modern Medicine prides itself on going too far. A recent article, "Cleveland's Marvellous Medical Factory", boasted of the Cleveland Clinic's "accomplishments" last year: 2,980 open-heart operations, 1.3 million laboratory tests, 73,320 electrocardiograms, 7,770 full-body x-ray scans, 210,378 other radiologic studies, 24,368 surgical procedures.

Not one of these procedures has been proved to have the least little bit to do with maintaining or restoring health. And the article, which was published in the Cleveland Clinic's own magazine, fails to boast or even mention that any people were helped by any of this expensive extravagance. That's because the product of this factory is not health at all.

So when you go to the doctor, you're seen not as a person who needs help with his or her health, but as a potential market for the medical factory's products.

If you're pregnant, you go to the doctor and he treats you as if you're sick. Childbirth is a nine-month disease which must be treated, so you're sold on intravenous fluid bags, fetal monitors, a host of drugs, the totally unnecessary episiotomy, andthe top of the line product--the Caesarean delivery!

If you make the mistake of going to the doctor with a cold or the flu, he's liable to give you antibiotics, which are not only powerless against colds and flu but which leave you more likely to come down with worse problems.

If your child is a little too peppy for his teacher to handle, your doctor may go too far and turn him into a drug dependent.

If your new baby goes off his or her feed for a day and doesn't gain weight as fast as the doctor's manual says, he might barrage your breastfeeding with drugs to halt the natural process and make room in the baby's tummy for man-made formula, which is dangerous.

If you're foolish enough to make that yearly visit for a routine examination, the receptionist's petulance, the other patients' cigarette smoke, or the doctor's very presence could raise your blood pressure enough so that you won't go home emptyhanded. Another life "saved" by antihypertensive drugs. Another sex life down the drain since more impotence is caused by drug therapy than by psychological problems.

If you're unfortunate enough to be near a hospital when your last days on earth approach, your doctor will make sure your $500-a-day deathbed has all the latest electronic gear with a staff of strangers to hear your last words. But since those strangers are paid to keep your family away from you, you won't have anything to say. Your last sounds will be the electronic whistle on the cardiogram. Your relatives will participate: they'll pay the bill.

No wonder children are afraid of-doctors. They know! Their instincts for real danger are uncorrupted. Fear seldom actually disappears. Adults are afraid, too. But they can't admit it, even to themselves. What happens is we become afraid of something else. We learn to fear not the doctor but what brings us to the doctor in the first place: our body and its natural processes.

When you fear something, you avoid it. You ignore it. You shy away from it. You pretend it doesn't exist. You let someone else worry about it. This is how the doctor takes over. We let him. We say: I don't want to have anything to do with this, my body and its problems, doc. You take care of it, doc. Do what you have to do.

So the doctor does.

When doctors are criticized for not telling their patients about the side effects of the drugs they prescribe, they defend themselves on the grounds that the doctor-patient relationship would suffer from such honesty. That defense implies that the doctor-patient relationship is based on something other than knowledge. It's based on faith.

We don't say we know our doctors are good, we say we have faith in them. We trust them.

Don't think doctors aren't aware of the difference. And don't believe for a minute that they don't play it for all it's worth. Because what's at stake is the whole ball game, the whole ninety per cent of more of Modern Medicine that we don't need, that, as a matter of fact, is out to kill us.

Modern Medicine can't survive without our faith, because Modern Medicine is neither an art nor a science. It's a religion.

One definition of religion identifies it as any organized effort to deal with puzzling or mysterious things we see going on in and around us. The Church of Modern Medicine deals with the most puzzling phenomena: birth, death, and all the tricks our bodies play on us-and we on them-in between. In The Golden Bough, religion is defined as the attempt to gain the favor of 'powers superior to man, which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and of human life.'

If people don't spend billions of dollars on the Church of Modern Medicine in order to gain favor with the powers that direct and control human life, what do they spend it on?

Common to all religions is the claim that reality is not limited to or dependent upon what can be seen, heard, felt, tasted or smelled. You can easily test modern medical religion on this characteristic by simply asking your doctor why? enough times. Why are you prescribing this drug? Why is this operation -going to do me any good? Why do I have to do that? Why do you have to do that to me? just ask why? enough times and sooner or later you'll reach the Chasm of Faith. Your doctor will retreat into the fact that you have no way of knowing or understanding all the wonders he has at his command. Just trust me.

You've just had your first lesson in medical heresy. Lesson Number Two is that if a doctor ever wants to do something to you that you're afraid of and you ask why? enough times until he says just Trust Me, what you're to do is turn around and put as much distance between you and him as you can, as fast as your condition will allow.

Unfortunately, very few people do that. They submit. They allow their fear of the witch doctor's mask, the unknown spirit behind it, and the mystery of what is happening and of what will happen, to change into respectful awe of the whole show.

But you don't have to let the witch doctor have his way. You can liberate yourself from Modern Medicine-and it doesn't mean you'll have to take chances with your health. In fact, you'll be taking less of a chance with your health, because there's no more dangerous activity than walking into a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital unprepared. And by prepared I don't mean having your insurance forms filled out. I mean you have to get in and out alive and accomplish your mission. For that, you need appropriate tools, skills, and cunning.

The first tool you must have is knowledge of the enemy. Once you understand Modern Medicine as a religion, you can fight it and defend yourself much more effectively than when you think you're fighting an art or a science. Of course, the Church of Modern Medicine never calls itself a church. You'll never see a medical building dedicated to the religion of medicine, always to medical arts or medical science.

Modern Medicine relies on faith to survive. All religions do. So heavily does the Church of Modern Medicine rely on faith that if everyone somehow simply forgot to believe in it for just one day, the whole system would collapse. For how else could any institution get people to do the things Modern Medicine gets people to do, without inducing a profound suspension of doubt? Would people allow themselves to be artificially put to sleep and then cut to pieces in a process they couldn't have the slightest notion about--if they didn't have faith? Would people swallow the thousands of tons of pills every year--again without the slightest knowledge of what these chemicals are going to do--if they didn't have faith?

If Modern Medicine had to validate its procedures objectively, this book wouldn't be necessary. That's why I'm going to demonstrate how Modern Medicine is not a church you want to have faith in.

Some doctors are worried about scaring their patients. While you're reading this book, you are, in a sense, my patient. I think you should be scared. You're supposed to be scared when your well-being and freedom are threatened. And you are, right now, being threatened.

If you're ready to learn some of the shocking things your doctor knows but won't tell you; if you're ready to find out if your doctor is dangerous; if you're ready to learn how to protect yourself from your doctor; you should keep reading, because that's what this book is about.

And that's just the beginning of Dr Mendelsohn's book.