Movie Review – 55 Steps & a patient’s right to know !

Movie – 55 Steps

A few weeks back Krishnan and I watched this movie 55 steps. The movie is about the real life story of Eleanor Riese, a psychiatric patient who, sued a hospital in San Francisco, because she was forced to take medicines that she didn’t want to.

The side effects of some of the medication that she was prescribed were harming her rather than improving her condition. This happened in the 80’s. A patient’s rights attorney Colette Hughes helps her win the case. Eleanor Riese was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and mild mental retardation. She insists with her doctor that she wants to know all about the dosage and type of medication she was being given.

It is fascinating to see how Eleanor for years keeps notes on the medicines she is given and the effect they have on her. Unbelievable and so commendable. If only all patients start doing that, there would a wealth of information available to the doctors and the drug companies. Ofcourse some drug companies would have to shut shop !!

The actors are brilliant – Helena Bonham Carter as Eleanor Riese and Hilary Swank as Colette Hughes. Do watch 55 Steps. If nothing else, atleast start making notes of any medication that you are given and the effect it has on you.

Patient’s right to know

I am writing about this movie today because I came across a video posted by Gauri Sarin on the Living Without Medicine FB page, that spoke of the terrible side effects of Statin drugs.

Across the world doctors prescribe Statin drugs to lower cholesterol and prevent heart attacks. This video says these drugs do not prevent heart attacks AND they may have several dangerous side effects like triggering diabetes, allergies, kidney diseases etc. From personal experience we know that statin drugs cause skin allergies because when Krishnan had his freak heart episode in March 2019, he was prescribed a bunch of statin drugs.

We didn’t know any better and soon he had skin allergy. Upon doing some google research we realised that Statin drugs cause these kind of allergies. Immediately we consulted our family doctor and he reduced the dosage. And now, our doctor has completely stopped the statin drug.

Watch this video –

Doctors and Drugs are Life Savers

With drug companies misleading the public on side effects, sometimes hiding the trial results etc it is imperative that as consumers of the drug, we track the effects it has on us specifically. This is not to totally stay away from allopathic medicines.

Doctors are saviours and allopathic drugs are life savers. So lets not dismiss their benefits. Keeping track of the medicine’s effect on you helps the doctor to treat you better. No doctor that I have met has ever wanted a patient not to get better. Infact our family doctor says, he is happy if he doesn’t get any patient, because it means people are healthy.

This is about some of us who pop pills without a care in the world. Its also about specific drugs like the statin drugs where the side effects are dangerous. So watch out and have a discussion with your doctor before stopping or starting any drug.

Ideally, eat moderately, exercise regularly and let the body heal itself. If possible choose Ayurveda or Homeopathy for lifestyle diseases.

Whenever you do take ANY medicine, simply track the effects on you. Keep a record like Eleanor Riese :).


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