When ‘Prevention’ Becomes ‘Misinformation’

Around 10 pm  last night, herself asked for a couple of paracetamol tabs because she had a headache. “Are you sure that you want two tabs?” I asked (she usually has one). “Yes”, she replied. So I gave her two.

I went to bed at about 2 am. I noticed that the paracetamol box was on my bedside table. What had I given her? I went back into the living room and found only a box of ibuprofen tabs which are 400 mg. The paracetamol tabs are 200 mg. I had given her 800 mg of ibuprofen.

When I read the leaflets in these tab boxes, I take what they say as ‘the truth’, so when to ibuprofen leaflet said one tab at a time with a maximum of three tabs per day, I took it as gospel. That was THE MAXIMUM.

I vaguely thought of calling an ambulance, but, by that time (2 am), she was snoring happily. Besides, calling an ambulance seemed to be way over the top. What was the danger? You read about people taking loads of paracetamol tabs in one go to kill themselves, but they often fail. I decided to let it go.

This morning, she was perfectly OK.

You might reasonably ask why the recommended doses are low. When I checked the internet earlier, I got several conflicting responses from ‘reputable’ sources. One said 800 mg 4 times a day = 3200 mg per day. The NHS said no more than six 200 mg tabs per day with a max of 1200 mg in a day.

It seems to me that the leaflets in boxes sold in the UK follow NHS ‘precautionary’ guidelines. I wonder what the leaflets in boxes sold in other countries say?

It seems to me that the ‘Health Dept’ has gone mad. It seems happy to recommend the lowest levels of painkillers regardless of whether or not people suffer unduly. That is where words like ‘prevention’, ‘protection’, ‘care’ get all mixed up as regards their meaning. ‘Protect’ could mean protect the NHS from charges of negligence. By recommending the lowest possible dose, it might be expected that over-doses, requiring hospitalisation, will be reduced. But the lowest possible dose to be effective might well be very different in different circumstances for different people. Thus, the recommendations are very misleading. They are easily manipulated and few people complain.

This callous attitude seems to pervade ‘Health and Wellbeing’. It is a sort of ‘hanged for a sheep as a lamb’ attitude. That is, if you are going to steal a lamb, you might as well steal a sheep – both are punished by death. You might as well have a ‘recommendation’ (which rapidly translates in the media to a ‘limit’) of 14 units of alcohol per week. It may ‘prevent’ a person from drinking 20 units, even though 20 units is still harmless for the vast majority of people. What is almost certain is that those limits will not deter alcoholics.

I detest the likes of Silly Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer of England. I also detest all her acolytes who make calculations of how many lives will be ‘saved’. Nobody, especially politicians, ever asks what they mean by ‘saved’. Do they mean ‘deaths postponed to a later age’?

But it would be equally callous not to help people who are very old but still ‘compos mentis’, despite their chronic maladies, to cope with those maladies and survive so that they can continue to enjoy life. The only point at which I personally draw the line is when a major organ fails, such as heart failure, or lung failure, etc. Sooner or later, one or other of our major organs will fail and we die.

“Thou shalt not kill, nor must thou strive, officiously to keep alive”.

I cannot see it happening, but we need vociferous politicians to defend us against the likes of Public Health England. Preferably, it should be scrapped, but that is hardly likely to happen. But at least its ‘terms of reference’ should be curtailed and its funding should be massively reduced.

The reason is that it cannot help but be callous and cruel in its present form.

I cannot understand why the callous and cruel nature of smoking bans was not seen within months of their enactment.

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4 Responses to “When ‘Prevention’ Becomes ‘Misinformation’”

  1. elenamitchell Says:

    I don’t have to read the leaflet here in France. The Pharmacist painstakingly tells me how many Ibuprofen I can take and when every time I buy them. And it’s the same as England.

    I don’t exceed the dose because The Pharmacist scares me witless, but I might try two next time if my shoulder is bad.

    • junican Says:

      You have detailed the problem clearly. We are rational, and so when the pharmacist tells us ‘the truth’ we are extremely reluctant to ignore his instructions. And yet, how do we know that he is not just repeating what he has been told to say, regardless of his correct knowledge?
      What you could do is increase the dose by, say, 50%. What is the worst that can happen? Will you have a heart attack and die? Very improbable.
      The sensible thing to do is increase the dose a little and see what happens. The probability is NOTHING.

  2. Samuel Says:

    You have politicians, who are nothing more than the latest winners in the never ending popularity of the best actor/liar contest, making decisions for you about your health care when they really don’t give a damn about any of us and know absolutely nothing about doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceuticals or health care. The entirety of government run health care would need to be tossed and they system returned to a professional relationship, one on one, between doctor and customer before any improvements will come.

    • junican Says:

      Too true. My present woes are entirely due to the Gov (or PHE?) forcing GPs to fish for business by circulating ‘older customers’ with suggestions that they have blood tests to see if the blood tests reveal some abnormality. What is an abnormality?
      In my case, all the investigations seem to have revealed a benign condition related to old age – the age of my bladder. I suffered no inconvenience from that condition, but I have suffered enormously as a result of the ‘interference’, which must have cost a bomb. I really, really wish that I had ignored the invitation to have the blood tests.

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