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.
This is the third volume of the monumental A History of Medicine series by the medical historian and classical scholar Plinio Prioreschi M.D., PhD. A limited number of these books were published, and the reader would be fortunate to find copies of the tomes for less than $350 U.S. dollars. We have already reviewed Volume I: Primitive and Ancient Medicine (2nd edition, 1995) and Volume II: Greek Medicine (2nd edition, 1996).[2,3] We found both of these tomes to be excellent journeys to the history of medicine (and indirectly medical ethics).
In our review of the first volume in this series we introduced the medical scholar Dr. Plinio Prioreschi, the author of this marvelous narrative of the history of medicine, and listed the composition of this series of tomes for the benefit of the readers. We do so again here for the same reason:
A History of Medicine — Volume I: Primitive and Ancient Medicine (2nd edition, 1995); 596 pages
It is not often one comes across a book that contains so much useful and enlightening information and wisdom. In Vandals at the Gates of Medicine, Dr. Miguel Faria has captured the essence of our nation’s problem — collectivism. As he so forcefully points out, we have, as a people, abandoned the principles that made this a great nation, a nation of free and virtuous people.
Plinio Prioreschi, MD, PhD (1930–2014), the author of this monumental series of tomes on the history of medicine was an accomplished scholar — i.e., physician, scientist, linguist (of classical and several modern languages), pharmacologist, medical historian, and ethicist, as well as thinker, although he did not necessarily claim all of these accomplishments. Prioreschi completed his MD (1954) at the University of Pavia, Italy, and his PhD (1961) in experimental medicine at the University of Montreal.
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.
The Story of Medicine by Victor Robinson, M.D. The New Home Library, New York; 1943. Bibliographical Notes, Indexed, 564 pages.
A Prelude to Medical History (1961) by Dr. Félix Martí-Ibáñez (1911-1972) is a short but interesting book on medical history based on a series of lectures to an entering class of medical students, who the author welcomes with excitement and jubilation. Martí-Ibáñez emphasizes such traits as greatness with humility and compassion with learning in medical ethics and the history of medicine. As foundations upon which to build the profession, he lists clinical practice, teaching, and research.
In his three-part series on psychosurgery in America entitled "Violence, Mental Illness and the Brain," my friend, Dr. Miguel Faria, has written one of the best published summaries on the history of neurosurgical treatment of psychiatric disorders by selective sectioning or abolition of specific parts of the behavioral brain.
Abstract — In the final installment to this three-part, essay-editorial on psychosurgery, we relate the history of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in humans and glimpse the phenomenal body of work conducted by Dr. Jose Delgado at Yale University from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Abstract — Knowledge of neuroscience flourished during and in the wake of the era of frontal lobotomy, as a byproduct of psychosurgery in the late 1930s and 1940s, revealing fascinating neural pathways and neurophysiologic mechanisms of the limbic system for the formulation of emotions, memory, and human behavior. The creation of the Klüver‑Bucy syndrome in monkeys opened new horizons in the pursuit of knowledge in human behavior and neuropathology.
Abstract — Psychosurgery was developed early in human prehistory (trephination) as a need perhaps to alter aberrant behavior and treat mental illness. The “American Crowbar Case" provided an impetus to study the brain and human behavior. The frontal lobe syndrome was avidly studied. Frontal lobotomy was developed in the 1930s for the treatment of mental illness and to solve the pressing problem of overcrowding in mental institutions in an era when no other forms of effective treatment were available. Lobotomy popularized by Dr.
And I looked, and behold, a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death.
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).
Warning! If you have high blood pressure, consult your physician before reading Medical Warrior. Dr. Miguel Faria writes with such fervor and conviction about the looming dangers of a health-care system dominated by big government, big business, and big labor that people with medical problems may wish to read something far less provocative.
Dear Dr. Faria,
Written by two reporters, this book contains a wealth of information about the history and inner workings of the American Medical Association since its founding in 1847. It is divided into two parts. The first covers how the AMA is organized, the history of its development, its ongoing battle against compulsory health insurance, a description of its political action committee (AMPAC), and a discussion of its support for the business ethic. The second covers the AMA's response to health issues including alternative medicine, the tobacco problem, abortion, and the AIDS epidemic.
It will be of little avail ---- if the laws are so voluminous
that they can not be read or are so incoherent
that they can not be understood --- Or undergo
such incessant changes that no man who
knows the law today can guess what
it will be tomorrow.
The Federalist Papers.
Dr. Miguel A. Faria, Jr., who is a consultant neurosurgeon, Adjunct Professor of Medical History (1993-1996) at Mercer University School of Medicine, and editor-in-chief of the Medical Sentinel of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, has combined astute political insight with his encyclopedic knowledge of history to create this unique blend of historical perspective and political commentary, with its emphasis on the history of medicine and medical ethics.
The Hippocratic Oath, Abortion, and the U.S. Supreme Court
Because of the recent decline in our health care system, today's physicians practice in a "medical gulag" and suffer from a "siege mentality." The reasons for this, as learned from examples in both ancient and recent history, are the topics for this unique collection of essays which are divided into five sections: "lessons from history"; "medical ecology"; "towards collectivism in medicine"; "the role of public health"; and "managed care, corporate socialized medicine and medical ethics." The author, Miguel A.
In matters of style, swim with the current;
in matters of principle, stand firm like a rock.
The Corporate Practice of Medicine
The physician should be contemptuous of money, interested in his work,
self-controlled, and just. Once he is possessed of these basic virtues,
he will have all others at his command as well.
Can the Medical Profession Survive Flexible Ethics?*
The crisis of American medicine is not tobacco, AIDS, silicone implants, the Gulf War Syndrome, breast or other forms of cancer, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, licensure, medical care for the poor, or any other specific medical or ethical issue. The crisis of American medicine is far greater than any one of these problems, indeed it is far greater than all of them combined, because the answers to these problems do not come from within them but from medical ethics.
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.
*This article is excerpted from the Foreword of Dr. Prioreschi's latest volume (Vol. III --- Roman Medicine) of his A History of Medicine, released this year.(1)
Dr Pellegrino, professor of Medicine and Medical Humanities at Georgetown, is joined by Dr Thomasma, Professor of Medical Ethics at Loyola in Chicago, in reviewing the post-Hippocratic era, which has shaken and even dismantled portions of the ethics of Hippocrates. Pellegrino feels there have been more changes in medical ethics in the last two decades than in its twenty-five-hundred-year history. There is serious question about whether the medical profession can ever again be united under a common set of moral commitments.
America's founding principles have been subverted and our country is on a steady course toward socialism. Our four founding principles --- the rule of law, individual rights, the guarantee of private property, and a common American identity --- are being replaced by group rights, redistribution, entitlements, and multi-culturalism, and our entire Western culture is in serious jeopardy. This is the message Hungarian-born Balint Vazsonyi, a world renowned concert pianist and historian, brings us based on his encyclopedic knowledge of the past.