Download Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm since Hippocrates by David Wootton PDF

By David Wootton

ISBN-10: 0192803557

ISBN-13: 9780192803559

ISBN-10: 1429487151

ISBN-13: 9781429487153

All of us face ailment and dying, and depend upon the clinical career to increase our lives. but, David Wootton argues, from the 5th century BC until eventually the Thirties, medical professionals truly did extra damage than sturdy. during this arguable new account of the heritage of drugs, he asks simply how a lot reliable it has performed us through the years, and what sort of damage it maintains to do this day.

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Sample text

The dog’s bark had proved as fatal as any bite. Galen, and all doctors after Galen, thus advocated proper diet. Galen recommended a diet designed to thin the humours, consisting of fish, fowl, barley, beans, onions, and garlic for all chronic diseases. They recommended sensible exercise. Galen abhorred gymnastics as too violent––the claim that gymnastics was the science of health and medicine the science of disease seemed to him to take no account of sports injuries––but recommended instead ‘exercise with the small ball’, a game of catch.

It is obvious to us, in the twenty-first century, that a nosebleed, a bleeding vein, or a bleeding bottom needs treatment; for centuries, by contrast, these were welcomed as ways in which the body healed itself. Women who had ceased to have periods (an interruption in periods, without pregnancy, in someone of childbearing age was regarded as extremely dangerous) and men who had no haemorrhoids had to turn to doctors for an artificial substitute. The goal of ancient medicine was a balance of humours.

Broussais was no better at curing diseases than Hippocrates had been, even if he preferred letting blood by applying leeches to the body (often to the anus) rather than by using a lancet to slice into a vein, as Galen would have done. Actually, as we shall see, the story Foucault tells in The Birth of the Clinic is best understood, not as the story of the birth of modern medicine, but as the story of the final crisis of ancient medicine. A central claim of this book is that one of the most interesting things about medicine is that it works, and that we therefore need to study progress in medicine.

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Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm since Hippocrates by David Wootton

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