For a normal, healthy person dealing only with minor illnesses—including diseases like measles and chicken pox, which were no big deal for most people—in many ways it was better to be living 50 years ago than now.

(An exception would be for normal childbirth, which had been taken over by hospitals and doctors.  Mothers reclaimed their [ahem] birthright in the late 1970s, only to lose it again, and then to partially regain it—it’s the only branch of medicine that I know to be so cyclical.)

I remember doctors making house calls, and doctors who treating the whole family as a unit, which I believe is healthier for all.  They trusted parents to describe symptoms accurately and as often as not the doctors gave advice over the telephone and saved many a trip—even when they were no longer making house calls.  They still had time to talk with their patients; none of this in-and-out-in-15-minutes assembly line stuff.

However—and it’s a big caveat—for serious illnesses and for emergency medicine, now is a much better time to need medical care.  When I was born, polio was still devastating the country and organ transplants were unheard of.  CAT scans didn’t appear until twenty years later.  From babies to bones, from tumors to head trauma—I hope never to need it, but if I do, I’ll take today’s medical technology with gratitude.

It’s just a pity we can’t have the house calls, too.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 6:19 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 1166 times
Category Health: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] The Good New Days: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Comments
Add comment

(Comments may be delayed by moderation.)