Dr. Sanjay Gupta Talks Healthcare, His New Documentary

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than anywhere else in the developed world, and yet life expectancy has actually been going down for three years in a row according to the CDC. Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses how stress can factor in, as seen in his new documentary “One Nation Under Stress.”

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SANJAY GUPTA, NEUROSURGEON: Well, you know, one thing I think when we talk about the anti-vacs hysteria, it is worth sort of looking a little bit in context. I think for the vast majority of people, Christiane, thankfully, still do vaccinations, they get themselves, their children vaccinated, they understand the science, they see the benefits and they also understand that when they get vaccinated, it’s not just for themselves, not just an individual protection, but it protects groups of people, that’s — they herd immunity that you certainly talked about in your program, people talk about. I think — but you do see the impact in certain communities now within the United States of not getting vaccinated and not having that herd immunity. And the measles, in particular, is something that, as you know, in the United States, was deemed eliminated in 2000, year 2000s, so 19 years ago. And now, we’re dealing with this again. One community North of New York, 153 cases. Now, since October, 50 cases just this year. And again, as you’ve heard, they’re taking some extraordinary steps now to try and curtail that. But the science is very clear. The science is very clear on this. I mean, there’s some things where the science is squishier, we need more science, we say that a lot in the medical world. Here, there’s large studies, there’s large meta analyses to determine both the benefit of vaccines and the lack of adverse, you know, negative side effects. So, you know, I have three kids, I got to them vaccinated on schedule, Christiane.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I did as well, right at the top and the height of this, you know, MMR scandal. And we’re seeing the fallout now. Just quickly, another question on this, because we’re hearing from — basically reporting, that this apparently — this outbreak, started in the ultra-orthodox Jewish communities in Rockland, many with close ties to the Brooklyn areas where they’ve also been infections, and vaccination rates, apparently, in those communities tend to be lower and anti-vaccination literature has spread, according to public officials. And another report saying this outbreak began when an unvaccinated resident visited Israel and became infected there and returned home with the disease. So, in terms of you as a doctor and you as a journalist and the health care community, how does one counter the spread of these this fake literature, these myths, these untruths about the science?

GUPTA: I think that there’s — there is a lot of knowledge that is circulating that talks about the benefits of vaccination as well. What you find — and look, no one knows this better than you, Christiane, because you’re the you’re the one we all look to when it comes to communicating important messages. But, you know, sometimes people hear what they want to hear. And I know that sounds rather glib but I — you know, as much — as long as I’ve been doing this job, I find that sometimes it’s not that people aren’t getting the messages, it’s that they’ve already made up their minds and they look for things to reinforce their point of view.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and Dr. Sanjay Gupta about healthcare. Alicia Menendez speaks with Gaby Dunn, author of “Bad with Money,” about millennials and the stigma surrounding personal finances.