“Confessions of a Medical Heretic” Book Review

Here's a book that can safe your life
Here’s a book that can save your life

Robert Mendelsohn “spilled the beans” about healthcare’s appalling death and destruction rates more than three decades ago. A pioneer at questioning the status quo, he taught us it is a far wiser path in life to become an intelligent skeptic of pretty much anyone wearing a lab coat.

I once had the pleasure & honor of being seated next to Robert Mendelsohn at a Preventive Medicine seminar in Palms Springs. We compared writing projects, and of course his “Medical Heretic” was on the bookshelves & piercing thousands of degreed egos. The man struck me as a visionary, entirely unafraid of rocking the traditional boat called health care. In less than 200 pages, this book deftly puts a dagger through the heart of his profession’s self-aggrandizement – and does so from the inside out.

The premise? Mendelsohn pulls no punches in his opener, which he calls the “Non Credo.”

“I do not believe in modern medicine. I am a medical heretic. My aim of this book is to persuade you to become a heretic, too.”

But just as important, contrary to what many have criticized him for, Mendelsohn does not tell you to stop seeing your doctor. He does tell you to not stop thinking just because you find yourself in the presence of one.

In its nine chapters, “Heretic” offers up numerous truths – many of which are as relevant today as when they were written. Here are three examples:

>  Every drug stresses and hurts your body in some way.
>  A healthy society is characterized by strong, positive family relationships and  subsequent minimal need of doctors.
>  Doctors are not trained to attack the core of any problem, merely to suppress symptoms.

As an educator, Mendelsohn knows how to turn a funny phrase in order to make a point. Here’s one of his best:

“. . . doctors’ intentions may be good. But we all know what the road to Hell is paved with.”

A few more of his more salient observations:
>  Doctors in general should be treated with the same degree of trust as used-car salesmen.
>  When I meet a doctor, I generally figure I’m meeting a person who is narrow-minded, prejudiced, and fairly incapable of reasoning and deliberation.
>  Get used to the idea right away that no single system can or should claim to have an exclusive fix on the dynamics of health.

As a Paramedic, I’ve carried copies of “Heretic” for years – in ambulances, helicopters & emergency rooms, causing quite a stir among my medical peers. Thanks to him, I too learned to view medical care with a healthy dose of logic.

I want to thank you, Bob, wherever you are in the cosmos. Through this book, your inherent wisdom has helped keep countless thousands of new physicians & paramedics ethically grounded, by providing a moral compass for those of us who happen to be – more often than not – supremely impressed by our own stethoscopes. I also thank you for giving me the strength to get “America’s Dumbest Doctors” – as well as “Paramedic Heretic” into the hands of those in desperate need of learning that in medicine, precious little is as it seems.

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