First off in the news this week is a look at how many odd things about healthcare that people believe, even when they are well documented to not be true. A recent research article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found through an online survey that nearly half of all Americans believe in some sort of government or corporate healthcare conspiracy to limit patients’ access to healthcare.
1,000 Surveyed on Health Conspiracies
The authors surveyed over 1,000 adults and found some disturbing things. Over 1/3 of the people surveyed believed that the federal government and the pharmaceutical companies collude to keep natural cancer cures off the market so the companies can make more money. A similar myth surrounding cellphones, telecommunications companies and brain cancer also exists and is believed by 1/5 of the respondents.
Other common health conspiracy theories are things we’ve talked about before including the pervasive vaccine myths surrounding autism and other childhood psychological disorders. These people can be particularly frustrating to the healthcare community because they distrust even the most convincing scientific evidence when presented to them.
Fluoride Haters Hit My Community
I know this has confronted my community years ago when the local citizens came out in droves to combat the fluoridating of one of the local water systems, not because it was too costly but because of the government conspiracy that existed behind it. Ultimately, the town opted for bad teeth for their children. It was ridiculous.
The biggest issue seen by the researchers were the persuasive nature of internet charlatans that prey on the fears of these folks and feed the hysteria surrounding these public health problems. I urge you to actively debunk these conspiracy theories as soon as you hear about them using social media, word of mouth and anything else you can think of.
We need to come together as a healthcare community to combat this misinformation to improve the health of our communities and build trust in what we are doing to make people healthier.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode –Getting Back to the Art of Nursing and Episode 288.