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The history of medicine begins with Hippocrates in the fifth century BC. Yet until the invention of antibiotics in the 1930s doctors, in general, did their patients more harm than good.
In this fascinating new look at the history of medicine, David Wootton argues that for more than 2300 years doctors have relied on their patients' misplaced faith in their ability to cure. Over and over again major discoveries which could save lives were met with professional resistance. And this is not just a phenomenon of the distant past. The first patient effectively treated with penicillin was in the 1880s; the second not until the 1940s. There was overwhelming evidence that smoking caused lung cancer in the 1950s; but it took thirty years for doctors to accept the claim that smoking was addictive. As Wootton graphically illustrates, throughout history and right up to the present, bad medical practice has often been deeply entrenched and stubbornly resistant to evidence.
This is a bold and challenging book--and the first general history of medicine to acknowledge the frequency with which doctors do harm.
|Introduction : bad medicine/better medicine||1|
|I||The Hippocratic tradition||27|
|1||Hippocrates and Galen||29|
|Conclusion to part I : the placebo effect||67|
|5||Vesalius and dissection||73|
|6||Harvey and vivisection||94|
|7||The invisible world||110|
|Conclusion to part II : trust not the physician||139|
|9||Birth of the clinic||177|
|11||John Snow and cholera||195|
|13||Joseph Lister and antiseptic surgery||224|
|14||Alexander Fleming and penicillin||242|
|Conclusion to part III : progress delayed||250|
|15||Doll, Bradford Hill, and lung cancer||259|
Posted October 24, 2010
No text was provided for this review.