Monday, October 24, 2016
Public health has had a magnificent and resplendent history. Sadly, the public health establishment has strayed far from its glorious origins and has gone from a lean, effective medical discipline composed of dedicated, independent physicians and health care workers to a bloated, politicized, entrenched, bureaucracy more concerned with political agendas — and its own existence and budgets — than the public health it had been charged to protect.
You may say the golden age of public health occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, following the great discoveries of Edward Jenner, the English physician who developed a vaccine against small pox (vaccination); Louis Pasteur, the French chemist who played a significant part both in the discovery of the germ theory of disease and the development of immunizations; Joseph Lister, the surgeon who developed antiseptic techniques both in the treatment of wounds and in the implementation of surgical procedures; and Robert Koch, the German pathologist who expounded on the concepts of microbes, pathology of tuberculosis, and the development of microbiology. Following the lead of these great public...
Monday, October 24, 2016
I was recently asked to review The Nazi War on Cancer by Robert N. Proctor for Ideas on Liberty. What follows here is a more extended critique of this scholarly but deeply disturbing book.
Proctor, a professor of history of science at Penn State, thoroughly documents and describes in a good light what he calls "the lesser-known 'flip side' of fascism — the side that gave us struggles against smoking, campaigns for cleaner food and water, for exercise and preventive medicine."(1) And indeed, he succeeds in documenting and presenting in comprehensive fashion the many medical accomplishments achieved by German scientists and physicians during the Nazi era (1933-1945) and the preceding year of the short-lived Weimar Republic. The "accomplishments" include the establishment of medical registries. While these registries initially assisted with legitimate public health functions, databases and their system of medical surveillance were later used for tracking purposes and implementing state sanctioned euthanasia. German physicians established the linkage of occupational diseases and cancer to environmental poisons, such as irradiation by uranium, radium, and radon...
, medical ethics
, medical history
, socialized medicine
, World War II