Stupid Reasons People Die
John Corso, MD
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Buy *Stupid Reasons People Die: An Ingenious Plot For Defusing Deadly Diseases* by John Corso, MD online

Stupid Reasons People Die: An Ingenious Plot For Defusing Deadly Diseases
John Corso, MD
High Lakes Press
280 pages
March 2007
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Dr. John Corso is a practicing, board-certified internal medicine physician, lecturer, and now author of his first book, Stupid Reasons People Die. The author identifies heart attacks, strokes, lung/breast/colon/prostate cancer, diabetes, and several other medical conditions that can kill or incapacitate us. The author argues logically and factually that there are many key actions we can do to prevent, forestall, and possibly lengthen our lives - and enhance the quality of our daily life. With this vital, admirable, but general goal in mind, Corso makes a clinical case for evaluating relevant demographics (e.g., gender, age, race), population statistics (e.g., incidence of reported diseases, comparative risks, outcomes), the latest research, and new, state-of-the art technology so individual patients and their doctors can make proactive decisions and life-saving treatment plans.

Focused prevention and proactive treatment plans (e.g., annual mammograms, self exams, and pap smears for women; annual prostate exams and PSAs for men; colonoscopies for men and women every ten years or earlier, if specific risk factors dictate) can be taken care of by a medical provider. Corso meets with each patient, dialogues by phone or email, and provides up-to-date medical information online (c.f. Patient symptoms/questions, desired visits, periodic medical news, screening updates, and office sessions enable the physician to monitor patient risks and treatment progress more effectively. According to Corso, medical contacts and relevant clinical information provided by a private medical provider could require that patients pay a monthly retainer (e.g., a fee of $ 85 per person) plus, of course, the cost (e. g., $ 200 to $1, 000 or more) for each diagnostic screening, regardless of insurance coverage, governmental assistance, or other third-party resources. He tells his patients when a bill for uncovered services arrives:

Don’t complain. We’re taking action.
Get out your checkbook.
Write a check to the healthcare provider, laboratory, or imaging company on the bill for an amount equal to that listed in the “amount due” section.
Repeat this process as needed.
Please never ask me or any other doctor to commit fraud. (p. 88)
New technology, hopefully available in the patient’s residential area, might include Ultra Fast CAT scans of heart and brain arteries; Electronic Beam Computer Tomography (EBCT scans) of arterial plaque; PET lung scans for current or former smokers, or patients with family smoking history, paid by the patient. He proposes medical providers limit the number of patients enrolled in this clinical model. The author believes a more responsible, patient-focused approach can be used aggressively with sufficient time to apply more effective treatment interventions with the state-of-the art screening tests described. He believes earlier detection of likely disease processes (e.g., Atherosclerotic Arterial Disease, tumors, blood clots, plaque build-up, aortic ruptures) can lead to more effective interventions and positive outcomes.

According to the author, diseases and associated conditions presented in the book often lie hidden in the body like tiny time bombs waiting to explode. When they do erupt, in all probability they wreck terminal or irreversible havoc on the patient’s body, life chances, family, and support systems. He challenges patients and physicians to go beyond passive, traditional dependencies, and out-dated reliance on failed standards of care in order to save more lives and make technological screenings available to visionary practitioners and patients.

Dr. Corso takes issue with the mass media and society’s apparent confusion over the use of terms like “natural,” “chemicals,” “organic,” “drugs,” and “addictions.” He cautions that any view of an evolutionary “Mother Nature” that succors and takes care of us justly from birth to death should be considered a pseudo-reality which really does not love us or play moral favorites with our lives. We are responsible for actions taken, and not taken, with regard to known and suspected risks involved in managing health, daily choices, and survival. What he calls, “Think-For-Yourself-Medicine.”(p. 50) One can only wonder from where and how many strong, rational, objective-thinking, fearless, independent or wealthy patients will come forward to get their respective “nitty-gritty” truths, positive and negative, as a beneficial consequence of using “state-of-the art” screening. Specialized screening tools can be more sensitive in finding problems in the body and more specific in knowing where problems are and what to do about them.

The author provides in Appendix I a helpful U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) set of recommended guidelines and corresponding evidence for assessing the magnitude of net benefit - that is, benefits minus harms for the screening tests described. Descriptions of ten different screening tools and protocols are provided in the Appendix.

I strongly recommend Stupid Reasons People Die to those patients and soon-to-be patients who have the guts, knowledge, screening options, and financial resources to use and follow through a customized, measurement-based, potentially life-saving treatment plan.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © David L. Johnson, Ph.D., 2007

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