There are many ways to assess a civilization. It all depends on your point of view. Some people believe we are advancing. These people point to a woman's "freedom to choose," more "rights" for those accused of crimes, and greater "tolerance." Other people believe we are declining. These people point to nearly a million babies killed every year, up to the time of birth and sometimes even after. They point to increasing reluctance of the law-abiding to rely on the legal system. They point to widespread cheating in schools, in business, in government, and in relationships.
For weeks, Joseph Stalin had been plagued with dizzy spells and high blood pressure. His personal physician, Professor V. N. Vinogradov had advised that Stalin step down as head of the government for health reasons. That was not what Stalin wanted to hear from the good doctor. Soon the Professor would pay for this temerity and indiscretion with his arrest and alleged involvement in the infamous Doctor's Plot (dyelo vrachey).
The Hippocratic Oath, Abortion, and the U.S. Supreme Court
The mastery of human consciousness should be a paramount political objective.
We have nothing to repent of.
General Kryuchkov, Chairman KGB
When the American POWs returned from captivity in Vietnam, military authorities noticed there were no amputees. At the time, this puzzled the experts. With over 2000 men in captivity, one would expect at least a few amputees. But in light of what is known about the Soviet human experimental program, it now makes a lot more sense. Most likely, these men were used either for military experiments or for training young surgeons. As in North Korea, once the procedures were completed the "experimental subjects" were killed and their bodies incinerated.
A momentous article, "Medical Science Under Dictatorship," by Dr. Leo Alexander, the Chief U.S. Medical Consultant at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, first printed in the July 14, 1949 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, has been reprinted as a monograph, and it could not have been reprinted at a more opportune moment.
In the public debate over legalized euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, opponents of such measures often invoke the history of medicine in Nazi Germany as an example of the danger in these practices. Those who invoke the "Nazi analogy" suggest that the sanctioning of euthanasia could lead to the wholesale destruction of those whose lives are deemed valueless or burdensome to society.
Vaccines --- Kill or Cure?
As the controversial debate over mandatory vaccine policy heats up igniting passions, it is perhaps appropriate we summarize what is known about the manifest benefits of modern vaccines, not forgetting the tremendously salutary impact on health and longevity wrought about by better living conditions, hygiene and sanitation, in general, and the introduction and subsequent widespread use of antibiotics, in particular.
The word hygiene comes from Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health (photo, below), who was the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution (c.1750-1850) and the discovery of the germ theory of disease in the second half of the nineteenth century, hygiene and sanitation have been at the forefront of the struggle against illness and disease.(1)
Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, there have been three major bubonic plague epidemics, which afflicted large segments of the population in the continuous Eurasian landmass and North Africa. Death quickly followed the trade routes of the times. The death toll is almost incomprehensible. The Plague of Justinian (6th Century A.D.), the Black Death (14th Century A.D.), and the Bubonic Plague (1665-1666, which coincided with the Great Fire of London) caused an estimated 137 million dead in a world much more sparsely populated than it is today.
While both the Patients' Bill of Rights legislation, allowing patients to sue HMOs in state court for unlimited damages, and tort reform, providing physicians judicial relief in medical liability, have stalled in the 107th Congress this year --- these intertwined problems of health care litigation will not disappear for long from the political landscape.
On June 23, 1995, a swarm of armed men invaded the Mason, West Virginia medical office of Dr. Danny R. Westmoreland. With their guns drawn, the intruders ordered everyone, including a nine-year-old child, to stand against a wall while the office was ransacked. The marauders were agents of the federal "health police," and they had violated the sanctuary of Dr. Westmoreland's office - which is also his home - and terrorized patients at gunpoint in order to execute a search warrant against the physician.