Helping patients whose problems are not solved with conventional therapies can be very difficult. In this article, Dr Mebl-Madrona presents his rationale for incorporating alternative approaches while striving to practice evidence-based medicine. We welcome comments from readers about the role of alternative and ‘integrative’ therapies within the context of Australian general practice.
I am trained as a family physician and psychiatrist. I have great faith in conventional biomedical therapies – where they are effective. I would not want to return to a world without antibiotics or emergency medicine. I am impressed anew by the power of our medical treatments each time I see a patient come into the emergency department with congestive heart failure, gasping for air, who is made completely comfortable within half an hour through the efficacy of nitroglycerine paste, diuretics, and a whiff of morphine. The wonder of conventional medicine is its ability to change the patient’s condition so dramatically.