“How could this happen?” David’s wife wanted to know after I had explained the situation. “He’s never been sick a day in his life!”

How Could This Happen?

How could this happen? I hear that question often. The answer isn’t easy, and I told David’s wife, Debbie, that I would explain everything as best I could later. But for now, we had to make sure that her husband was getting the acute care he needed.

David’s left anterior descending coronary artery showed a 98 percent blockage. His heart simply was not receiving enough blood to function normally. The situation would be similar to having your air supply 98 percent blocked when you’re trying to climb a mountain. That would affect not only your ability to breathe but also the ability of every organ in your body—including your heart—to function. Blood—pumped by the heart—carries oxygen up to the top of your head and down to the tips of your toes. In essence, when your heart stops functioning correctly, your entire body begins to suffocate.

Within minutes, a stent—a device to keep an artery open—was placed in David’s coronary artery so blood could flow freely again. My patient was fortunate that no permanent damage to his heart or other organs had taken place during his sudden heart attack and dangerous rhythm on the examination table. I guess the best place to have a cardiac event is in a hospital while carrying on a conversation with a cardiologist!

This is where some well-meaning people miss an important point. We hear a lot about alternative medicines, potent herbal cures, or the importance of diet and exercise. And I will be the first to champion anything that has been proven to work. But there is, and always will be, a place for modern medicine, especially in emergency situations. If I have a heart attack, I want a stent. If my heart is going too slowly, give me a pacemaker. If I am bleeding to death, stop my bleeding and start a transfusion. If I have a bacterial infection, bring me some antibiotics. Without modern medicine, a whole lot of people would not be around to explore alternative medicines, examine herbal cures, or learn the importance of diet and exercise.

David was suffering an acute event brought on by a chronic condition. As I later dug into his history, I began to understand why he ended up on my examination table. His heart disease was caused by elements in his life bringing stress on his body. He smoked. He held a high-pressure job. He ate food practically devoid of nutrition. But did he, his wife, or his two precious daughters recognize those stressors as the cause of his heart disease? No. Because they, like many of us, were operating under some serious misconceptions, and no one was making the lifestyle connection for them.

As important as modern medicine and its technologies are, people fall victim to a number of misconceptions regarding what modern medicine can and can’t do. We’ll discuss these later in the book, but the first misconception is huge, so let’s take a look at that one before we go any further.

The First Misconception

What is a misconception anyway? Doesn’t it depend on a person’s point of view or perception? Not really. It’s a falsehood, a lie, a trick, or an untruth. These are all around us and have been almost since the beginning of time. Sometimes they are so elaborate that even the most astute people don’t recognize the untruth. But 99 percent truth is still a lie. Good and intelligent people are being deceived or have become clueless concerning many of the facts of life. Why? Amazingly, the reason usually comes down to money.

More specifically, I want to suggest that the misconception exists because of selfishness. We—and the society in which we live—tend to put ourselves above the interests of others, often because of a desire for money, power, or control.