Abstract — The perplexing mystery of why so many trephined skulls from the Neolithic period have been uncovered all over the world representing attempts at primitive cranial surgery is discussed. More than 1500 trephined skulls have been uncovered throughout the world, from Europe and Scandinavia to North America, from Russia and China to South America (particularly in Peru). Most reported series show that from 5-10% of all skulls found from the Neolithic period have been trephined with single or multiple skull openings of various sizes.
For several decades, American bioethicists have been providing persuasive arguments for rationing medical care via the theory of the necessary "rational allocation of finite health care resources."(2) More recently, assisted by various sectors of organized medicine, they have developed multiple approaches to justify what they see as the necessary curtailment of services and specialized treatments deemed not medically necessary.
Medical efforts to prolong the lives of individuals afflicted with serious disease or injury began with primitive medicine, perhaps in the Neolithic Period (8000-3000 B.C.), when we discerned from paleontologic evidence a tendency for primitive men and women to care for the sick and wounded in the shelters provided by the deep caves of Europe.
Physicians classify diseases in a variety of ways. Clinical classifications are often made according to either the suddenness of onset or the expected prognosis. Diseases are considered acute if they develop suddenly and have a short clinical course. Chronic diseases, on the other hand, have a slow onset, indolent course, and long duration. They heal slowly if they improve at all.
An article in the New Oxford Review illustrates how " 'a right to die' easily becomes 'a duty to die' once society labels some lives as not worth living." Two case histories were briefly outlined. In one instance, Harold Cybulski, visited by his family while in his hospital bed in Ontario, Canada, wakes up from a coma just as his physicians were about to " 'pull the plug and let him go.' As the grieving family filed in, Cybulski's two-year-old grandson ran ahead crying, 'Grandpa!