Bill Bradford: The pill almost killed mePublished 9:45am Thursday, April 8, 2010
When I tried to sit up the dizziness returned with a vengeance.
When my wife took my blood pressure, it was 45/20.
I could have died because of what the medical community calls an “iatrogenic” problem.
The dictionary defines iatrogenic as “a condition caused by a physician.”
Forty years ago my family doctor found that I had an electrical defect in my heart which is called a “right bundle branch block.”
But he reassured me by saying that he had one, too, and it didn’t slow him down a bit.
And my family physician, who cared for me in another state 20 years later also knew that I had that bundle branch block.
With the passage of time and with some weight gain, my blood pressure had gone too high to be ignored.
My doctor prescribed Inderol to control the blood pressure.
I had taken one 10-milligram tablet and that one tablet was what almost killed me and could have robbed me of the 20 years of life that I have happily lived since.
Inderol is one of a class of medications known as beta blockers.
It is known to be inappropriate for a person who has a bundle branch block.
How much is 10 milligrams ? One milligram is about 2/1,000 of a pound. If you take a pound and divide it into 454 parts, one of those parts represents about a milligram of weight.
There are several other classes of medications available to treat my high blood pressure.
Did my doctor make a mistake? Yes! Could that mistake have cost me my life? Yes!
Was my physician a good doctor? Yes! Did I continue to go to him for my medical care? Yes.
Doctors are human and they can and do make mistakes.
It is a tremendous mental challenge to know symptoms; to translate symptoms into diagnoses of medical problems; to know medications and their uses and side effects; to understand laboratory and radiography findings and their bearing on patient care.
What, then, is a person to do?
In general terms there are at least two important steps to take.
The first is to learn as much as you can about your own body and its care.
Don’t hesitate to use a medical dictionary and learn the language of medicine and patient care.
The second, is to take the best care possible of the body you have been given.
In keeping with that second option, if you are overweight, shed those extra pounds.
You will then have more energy and feel better about yourself.
For some of us it is difficult to shed pounds and keep those pounds from coming back.
One of your options is to enroll in the Lifelong Weight Management seminars which will begin again Thursday evening, April 15 or April 22.
You will then learn how to do it and have peer support as you go down that road with others.
In the first seminar group there were 15 individuals who together lost a total of about 205 pounds.
That averages out to about 13.7 pounds per individual of body weight loss in 10 weeks.
You can take charge of your life and avoid many of the severe consequences which may result by just ignoring the weight.
You may enroll by phoning toll-free 877-528-8155.
Bill Bradford has served as director of clinical laboratories in physician group practices and hospitals.
For a decade he was an educator in clinical laboratory sciences at Andrews University.