Book review #1 Werner Bartens “Wie das Krankenhaus uns krank macht”


I have skimmed slowly through the pages of a book by German journalist Werner Bartens “Wie das Krankenhaus uns krank macht”. Here’s my two cents on it: Doctors as well as medical scientists all over the world make many mistakes, some of which have lethal consequences. Medics are especially prone to rationalization – they cannot simply admit their mistakes and live happily ever after. Ergo a culture of lies and taboos have cropped over the medical landscape. Some doctors can even get away with a murder (provided it is disguised as a scientific experiment for the benefit of future generations).

Society has a rather much too romantic and idealistic view of our beloved medical doctors. Frequently in the media one encounters the image of a physician as a kind of guardian angel, demi-god in a white coat, possessing almost magical abilities, who has been put on earth for the sole purpose of alleviating the physical torments of these strange bipedal mammals like ourselves. Of course, this is a caricature of sorts. But ask yourself this, when you go to the hospital, aren’t you expecting a full service, professional treatment, latest methods of therapy – at least a minimum help and attention with a prospect of a total recovery? This is perfectly rational, you might say and I agree. Yes, indeed. It is. In a civilized world you have the rights to expect a professional health service, and yet, dare to be surprised, the received treatment you will get in a hospital on those rare, but often devastating, occasions might aggravate your overall health condition and cripple or disable your picturesque bag of bones for the rest of your sunny adventures on this planet. Usually you won’t even notice how the proscribed pill you are swallowing each day worsens your physique. If ever, you will find it out (for example, about the real causes of a sudden heart-stroke), when it is already to late. “So, why worry?”, you might wonder. Play the game like a Dalai Lama and take it all easy. Enjoy the free-ride as long as you can, and most importantly, relish one of the few pleasurable things in life – painless defecation and smooth urination  – knowing full well that these pleasures won’t last forever.

Point two. Another important feature of the current medical landscape is its over-dependence from the almighty business interests – pharmacological companies- who advise, educate and often employ both the young and promising medical cadres as well as the Aesculapian veterans. Pharmacological industry dictates and invents the rules of the patient/doctor game as well as holds the keys to the gigantic market of medical miracle potions, lotions and therapies. Many of the newly invented drugs on the market have no scientific credentials – meaning – no scrutinized, tested and critically analyzed evidence on their actual effectiveness in combating a certain disease or bacteria. One thing you should always remember before swallowing a pill (or if you are more spiritually attuned and prefer natural treatments, this applies to you too (and even more so)) – all medicine (all ingredients you intake) have side-effects. Aspirin might relieve your headache, Prozac – your depression, and Chemotherapy might kill your cancer cells, but you never know what those chemical substances might do to the healthy parts of your bodily and nervous system. Nothing is neutral. Everything has a cost.

On a side-note. There’s a discussion going on the same topos. See

A polemical piece in response to the above referred Dr. Makary’s article, see


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2 responses to “Book review #1 Werner Bartens “Wie das Krankenhaus uns krank macht”

  1. Medicine like anything else is an ongoing medical debate. I believe it was Kant who said that the true nature of any given thing can not be known. All u can do is offer descriptions. The scientific method is the true religion of our time.

    • Precisely. There is no true nature. What is beyond description is beyond experience.
      I would like to practice sincerely and follow diligently the religion of the scientific method, but my spirit is weak and my heart is stubborn. Nevertheless, I hope one day to become a scientifically literate person.

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