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Safety is Not an Accident

By February 21, 2018No Comments

Would you play Russian roulette? What if the odds improved to 1-in-100? Sound good now? Safety is measured in the likelihood of a negative outcome. When high-risk events are possible, no stone should be left unturned to decrease its chances of happening. No one would get on an airplane unless the odds of a crash were essentially non-existent. In self-regulated industries, consumers have to trust that the necessary expertise has been applied to maximize safety. Such is the case with natural therapies. No one should be exposed to playing Russian roulette with his or her health.

Getting a detailed picture of a patient’s health history helps to accomplish this. As Naturopathic Doctors in Calgary, we take a holistic approach to understanding each patient’s current health status. “Holistic” in this case does not refer to “natural”, but to comprehensive and thorough. Without this approach, proceeding with certain treatments is not appropriate as patients may not be aware of issues that may put them at risk when receiving therapy.

Intravenous therapies are a specific example of a Naturopathic therapy requiring safety planning. At a minimum, patients should be safety screened as follows.

Conditions Risks
Kidney Disease Electrolyte Imbalances, Kidney failure, Pulmonary Edema, Heart Failure
G6PD Deficiency Hemolysis (Red blood cell destruction)
High Platelets Clots
Low Platelets Bleeding
Liver Disease Exacerbation of liver damage
Blood Pressure Fluid overload increasing blood pressure

Safety, in general, is inconvenient. Risks can only be minimized by actively managing them. Take a G6PD deficiency, the most prevalent enzyme deficiency. In our experience, it typically shows up in 1% of our patient population. Patients lacking the G6PD enzyme may have no outward signs of the condition, but when exposed to high levels of various vitamins, red blood cell destruction can occur and cause severe health problems. For that 1-in-100 patient, the risks of intravenous therapy are too high. Screening tests can detect the deficiency and identify patients who are not appropriate candidates for IV therapy, avoiding a seriously negative outcome.

Many readers can remember a time when seat belts dangled uselessly next to them. Drivers making decisions based only on their personal experience and preference. Today it is taken for granted as the right thing to do. As Naturopathic Doctors in Calgary, it is our job to make sure that everyone is buckled up when starting their journey toward creating a healthier life.

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