Bad medicine : doctors doing harm since Hippocrates /
David Wootton.
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.
xiv, 304 p. : ill.
0192803557 (alk. paper), 9780192803559 (alk. paper)
More Details
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2006.
0192803557 (alk. paper)
9780192803559 (alk. paper)
contents note
Hippocrates and Galen -- Ancient anatomy -- The canon -- The senses -- Vesalius and dissection -- Harvey and vivisection -- The invisible world -- Counting -- Birth of the clinic -- The laboratory -- John Snow and cholera -- Puerperal fever -- Joseph Lister and antiseptic surgery -- Alexander Fleming and penicillin -- Doll, Bradford Hill, and lung cancer -- Death deferred.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-02-01:
Wootton (Univ. of York, UK) offers an abbreviated but challenging account of the traditional history of Western medicine. What distinguishes the book is its focus on the limited therapeutic armamentarium available until recently, most of which did not work and some of which did more harm than good. What detracts is the accusatory style of its argument that medicine, as an organized profession and historical fallacy, plotted to hinder progress, resist life-saving innovations, and experiment with vivisection. With the benefit of hindsight, Wootton tells of innovations that time proved to be beneficial, but he fails to consider others that were tried, sorted out, and discarded for the harm they did. In this age of deconstructionist approaches, people can select the shade and magnification of their "retrospectroscope" and tell the agonizingly slow story of progress toward any scientific and technological achievement of the past century, which is what this book does for therapeutics. Wootton, a professor of history, is clearly well read and has researched his subject extensively. Unfortunately, the book is not annotated and provides a very brief reading list. For references, readers are asked to consult the book's Web site, which offers only a note that references will be posted. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. G. Eknoyan Baylor College of Medicine
Review Quotes
A genuinely thrilling adventure...An emotionally and intellectually gripping drama.
'Anyone with an involvement with medicine - and that means anyone with a body and a brain - should read this brilliant, bracing and erudite book.'Seamus Sweeney,
A sad but fascinating story of centuries of missed opportunities, unnecessary suffering and misplaced faith in outlandish remedies.
A very stimulating and thought-provoking book.
'A very stimulating and thought provoking book'Theodore Dalrymple, Sunday Telegraph
David Wotton [creates] a genuinely thrilling adventure out of the abysmal failings of doctors over the past 2000 years.
Explosive new book..important book
'Lucid [and] elegantly written... an inspiring account of individual accomplishment'Will Cohu, Daily Telegraph
lucid, elegantly written and pleasingly slim book
Ought to be required reading for every first year medical student.
'Stimulating and unorthodox'Literary Review
The historical catastrophe of medicine has never been so excitingly and stirringly told.
this is a very stimulating and thought-provoking book
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2007
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Bowker Data Service Summary
David Wootton argues that until the invention of antibiotics in the 1930s doctors, in general, did their patients more harm than good. He shows that throughout history and right up to the present, bad medical practice has often been deeply entrenched and stubbornly resistant to evidence.
Main Description
Just how much good has medicine done over the years, and how much harm does it continue to do? 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 isnot 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 wasaddictive. In the 1960s there was the notorious thalidomide tragedy, while today there is the ongoing problem of unnecessary operations, especially in the United States - and this all at a time of rapidly rising healthcare costs. As Wootton graphically illustrates, throughout history and right upto 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.
Main Description
We all face disease and death, and rely on the medical profession to extend our lives. Yet, David Wootton argues, from the fifth century BC until the 1930s, doctors actually did more harm than good. In this controversial new account of the history of medicine, he asks just how much good it has done us over the years, and how much harm it continues to do today.
Table of Contents
Medical History and Body History
The Hippocratic Tradition
Hippocrates and the First Hippocratics
Galen and the Humoural System
Ancient Anatomy
The Canon
The Senses
The Placebo Effect
Revolution Postponed
Vesalius and Dissection
Harvey and Vivisection
The Invisible World
Modern Medicine
Vaccination and Germs
The First Modern Drugs
Death Deferred
Conclusion: Progress and Resistance
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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