Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Not So Brave New World--Part V

Soon enough a new problem came to the notice of the Deans and of the Directors. If you have doctors and if you have hospitals then you have to have patients. And for there to be patients there has to be illness. Oh, there were sniffles and minor stomach aches galore, but those could be treated by anyone with some medical knowledge, knowledge all men now had. You didn't need a hospital, you didn't need specialists, to take out a splinter.

So the Deans and Directors set about developing a new roster of illnesses, an alphabet-soup of disease. And in fairly short order no one was disease free. Everything that heretofore had seemed and been perfectly normal in a human being was now the possible forerunner of a dreaded disease. Soon enough people were running to the hospital almost as soon as they awoke in the mornings, and the doctors there always managed to find something. Soon enough some people, it seemed, were living more in the hospital then in the world outside. The outside world was poison; only in the hospital were the people safe. And with this idea born and spreading, more and more hospitals were built, until it seemed that people only lived in hospitals and nowhere else. They were armed fortresses, buttressed against the incursions of the evils of the world outside them.

There were, of course, rabid disagreements about how to treat the scourges of the outside world. Each hospital had its own methodology, its own philosophy. And if the philosophy sometimes didn't work, if the methodology sometimes made people more ill then they had been previously, well medicine wasn't magic. And there were some diseases that just couldn't be cured--they had to run their course and either the person would recover or they would die. That was just nature at work. And what of the whispers that some other hospital had a method that worked better? Nonsense!

Nor were the doctors exempt from the illnesses they had foisted onto others. Here and there they, too, succumbed. But they were doctors, and so they treated themselves. And no one remembered any more that piece of ancient advice that said, "A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient."

To be continuted

To Be Continued

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"A doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient."

What about 'physician, heal thyself' ?