Monday, June 13, 2005

Medicine in the crucible....

... of war. It's pretty obvious that, like so much technological development, medical practice necessarily improves from war. I certainly hope battlefield medical personnel are available for consultation when it comes to designing things like battle armor.. Maybe extend aramid fibres and ceramic plates to boots and extremity joints?

Also, keep a look out for James Burke's The Day The Universe Changed.. Apropos this topic he discusses the change in the nature of medicine from performance art to scientific profession, driven by the French Revolution.. Before the revolution doctors were judged on their theatrical skills and were as beholden to patients' demands as bards were to their patrons. Afterwards, doctors and surgeons (which were regarded as dogsbodies) gained in status and became authoritative as science progressed, and patients were relegated to a very passive role.

Mildly ironically, with the Internet, patients are starting to speak up more and become better informed, and demanding more control over their medical care, which is a good thing, even if it's just patients parroting some purple pill ad.

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