100 Years of Medicine: Some Issues Just Don't Change
There might be a truism that some things in the practice of medicine change and some don't over a period of 100 years. Certainly the treatment of heart disease and cancer has changed and so have their outcomes. But there are issues in medical practice that have lingered on. If you look at the June 6th 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (available by subscription only) you would find reprint of two 100 year old editorials (June 1 1907).
The first, "Protecting the Fool from His Folly" (the public acceptance of "medical fakes and fakirs" and the need to protect them by laws "conservatively made and stringently enforced") expresses the concern that the newspapers are not educating the public about the fakes but infers that they are actually encouraging them since "the daily newspaper lost their sense of moral perspective in the acceptance of advertisements..." and "It seems that permission to use the daily press for fraduulent and criminally indecent purposes was restricted only by the ability to pay advertising rates." On this blog, we have discussed the direct to consumer advertising by the media and its consequences. Not that I am saying that the pharmaceutical companies are promoting "fakes" or are "fakirs", but I see the similarity of the the media "mis-education" of the public about medical potions between then and now.
The second editiorial ("A Legal Opinion of the Medical Profession") involved the report of a malpractice case from Ohio where the judge "after listening to the evidence of several local physicians, took the case from the jury and instructed the verdict for the defendant." The judge stated that never thought even for a moment that "any physician would perjure himself on the witness stand to shield another." The attorney for the plaintiff, in protest, said "that it is impossible to to make a case against a physician because members of the medical profession are under obligations to endorse each other's statements."
Golly, that is exactly what many of my visitors have been writing currently on a number of threads why they feel doctors' alleged misbehavior are getting off with no punishment and changes in standards of medical behavior are not being improved for the patient because of this "club"-like attention by the "members" toward the self-interest of the physicians.
Some issues, even in medical practice, never change. ..Maurice.