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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yes, humans screwed up healthcare many times before

There is an old Hebrew saying that "what has been is what again will be, and what has been done is the same as what will be done; there's nothing new under the sun."  The idea here is that while societies change, wisdom matures, and technologies improve, mankind stays the same. Or, as historian Fielding Hudson Garrison wrote in his 1921 history of medicine: "Human races and racial customs have changed as they became more highly specialized.  the heart of man remains the same."

We are born pure, and we error, and we become impure. Then we find ways to purify ourselves once again, and we often succeed in doing this.  Then mankind forgets the past, and the same errors are repeated.  This cycle has been repeated ad nauseum throughout history, and we need look no further than the Bible or any history book.

We need look no further than healthcare for one great example.  Many of my friends say there has never been a healthcare crisis like we are seeing in America today, although they are wrong.  Yes, my friends, humans had a great healthcare systems many times in our past, only to screw it up.

In the early days of ancient Egypt priests/ physicians, in their attempts to help people, were allowed the right to experiment to find the perfect remedies and doses to cure diseases.  Yet due to a few physicians who used this knowledge for evil deeds, the Chief Priests made laws that physicians were not allowed to deviate from called the Embre. This was done with the "good intention of creating a  mask for, the vagaries of magic, and the extravagances and frauds of the alchemists. However, the consequence was physicians were no longer allowed to experiment, and this resulted in medicine being stalled for thousands of years.  Medicine was not advanced again until ancient Greece.  

The same thing is happening today.  Physicians and Pharmaceuticals were one allowed to do whatever they thought was necessary to help sick people.  Pharmaceuticals made medicine, and physicians experimented to find what ailments the medicine was good for, and what doses to use.  This was great because it allowed for many remedies for many ailments to be discovered.  Yet medicines often have side effects, and to make people "feel better" about these side effects, laws were made regulating the pharmaceutical industry and medical industry.  The result is many drugs are no longer made, and the medical industry is inundated with so many rules and regulations that many hospitals are being forced to either merge or close altogether.  

So what is now happening with healthcare has happened in the past.  It is nothing new.  It is happening because our educational system does not teach history, and when it does, students pay no attention to it and say things like "it's boring," or, "I have no use for history."  Yet there is another saying that holds true here: "Those who do not understand their history are doomed to repeat it." 

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