The Benefits of Complementary Medicine, Universal Medicine and Cardiac Surgery

By Amber Goodwin 


Complementary Medicine has been widely used since human beings existed. Herbs and different therapies have been used within all cultures to treat symptoms and conditions and this is where the current medical system developed from. However, within the current medical system which has become dominated by pharmaceutical and clinical intervention, it has become apparent that in our attempt to fix the disease of the person we have largely neglected the underlying cause. More and more, public health, primary health and the social determinants of health are asking us to look at absolutely everything that affects our wellbeing, as prevention is greater than cure and healthcare expenditure is now threatening the global economy.

Heart Disease, for the last 15 years running, has been the leading cause of death worldwide (1,2) and the costs involved are the highly burdensome to the Australian economy (2) and similar globally. Sadly, the 2017 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) global burden of disease study (3) revealed that progress from reducing cardiac disease mortality has not only stalled but the situation has worsened.

My heart story

In 1997 at the age of 21 I was found to have a heart murmur. An MRI showed a congenital 50% shunt from the pulmonary vein to the superior vena cava, causing an enlarged right side of the heart and extra pressure of blood flow to the pulmonary circuit. The heart surgeons meeting at the time reported they were not able to correct this; however 5 years later after another MRI a cardiac surgeon said he had corrected something similar on a 7 year old and offered to do the corrective surgery. 

Since I was sixteen I had drunk alcohol in large volumes every weekend and smoked cigarettes. When I was told I would need to not have cigarettes or alcohol prior to and for 3 months following the surgery, there was no way I could feel this was possible. I was a staunchly independent single parent with no biological family close to me, and my cigarettes, alcohol and social life meant everything to me. So, I said: ‘No thanks, I’m okay, it’s not causing me any harm and it may never do’.

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