By David Wootton
Simply how a lot sturdy has drugs performed through the years? and what kind of harm does it proceed to do?
The heritage of drugs starts off with Hippocrates within the 5th century BC. but until eventually the discovery of antibiotics within the Thirties medical professionals, commonly, did their sufferers extra damage than good.
In this attention-grabbing new examine the heritage of medication, David Wootton argues that for greater than 2300 years medical professionals have depended on their sufferers' lost religion of their skill to medication. again and again significant discoveries which can keep lives have been met with expert resistance. And this isn't only a phenomenon of the far away prior. the 1st sufferer successfully handled with penicillin was once within the Eighteen Eighties; the second one no longer till the Nineteen Forties. there has been overwhelming facts that smoking prompted lung melanoma within the Nineteen Fifties; however it took thirty years for medical professionals to simply accept the declare that smoking was once addictive. As Wootton graphically illustrates, all through historical past and correct as much as the current, undesirable clinical perform has frequently been deeply entrenched and stubbornly proof against evidence.
This is a daring and hard book--and the 1st basic background of drugs to recognize the frequency with which medical professionals do damage.
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Extra resources for Bad Medicine. Doctors Doing Harm since Hippocrates
Before contemporary history of medicine (roughly speaking, history of medicine since 1973), medical history was presented as a grand narrative of progress, and indeed there is some logic to such a narrative as long as one thinks of medicine as a body of knowledge or a science, not as a technology for treating illness. The ﬁrst historian (he resisted even the word ‘historian’, preferring at one point ‘archaeologist’, at another ‘genealogist’) to break with the grand narrative of progress was Michel Foucault, whose The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception appeared in 1963 in French and 1973 in English.
Herophilus’s teacher, Praxagoras, introduced a systematic distinction between arteries and veins, though he assumed (as did Erasistratus) that the arteries carried air, and gave to them the name also given to the trachea. It was Praxagoras who ﬁrst identiﬁed the arterial pulse: Aristotle had thought that the heart and all the blood vessels pulsed together because he was unable to distinguish arteries from veins. Herophilus later explored the possibility of using the pulse for diagnostic purposes and devised a portable timepiece to 44 the hippocratic tradition measure its speed.
The ﬁrst Hippocratics had never taken the pulse of their patients, but now the pulse became a key source of information about the involuntary system, as opposed to the voluntary one. We now begin to get some sense of why the idea of self-control was so important to Galen. To be human was to be in control of those bodily activities that were voluntary; to lose control, to strike and bite, was to allow the passions to seize control, and so to become an animal rather than a human being. There was, however, a fundamental ambiguity in this ancient anatomy 45 way of thinking.
Bad Medicine. Doctors Doing Harm since Hippocrates by David Wootton