I am currently working on a project that involves studying a lot of what our heir to the throne – or is the ‘the heir to our throne? – as done, said and written about so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). Unavoidably, this meant reading his 2010 book HARMONY, A NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT OUR WORLD. In it, Prince Charles states that “… I cannot bear to see people suffer unnecessarily when, so often, a complementary treatment can be beneficial…” This is a statement that Charles has made several times before.
Each time I come across it, I have to think of some of my own patients. It’s a long time since I was a clinician, yet one patient, in particular, often comes to my mind.
He had been a young man healthy, happily married, nice kids, good job, etc. Then one day, he was inattentive or distracted and drove his car full with his wife and kids across a red signal at an unguarded railway crossing. They were all killed instantly.
But almost miraculously, he survived and had just relatively minor injuries which we hoped to put right. So, his body was about to be fine, but his mind was not. Just before being dismissed from the hospital, he tried to commit suicide by jumping out of the 4th-floor window of his room. He survived that too, and we were looking after him and his multiple injuries. As he had lost a lot of blood, he received several blood transfusions. One had been infected and he contracted HIV. He did not survive.
Does Charles know what he is talking about?
How often does he see truly suffering patients?
Does he know that faked empathy might be seen as offensive?
On what evidential basis does he assume that so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) would bring any benefit to severely ill patients?
Does he assume to know better than the clinicians treating the ‘people suffering unnecessarily?
Does he realize that his words are an insult to those who actually do see patients suffer and empathize with them?
Does he know what it means to do everything possible to help patients?
Does he realize that this is achieved by employing the most effective treatments currently available?
Does he know that the most effective treatments would almost never include SCAM?
I am sorry, but sometimes Charles’s musings about SCAM do get under my skin.