A bold and challenging reassessment of medical history from its origins to the present
Shows just how deeply entrenched bad medical practice has been throughout history - right up to modern times
Includes a new epilogue by the author in response to critics of the highly acclaimed but controversial hardback edition
New to this edition
Includes a new epilogue by David Wootton in response to critics of the highly acclaimed but controversial hardback edition
Just how much good has medicine done over the years? And how much damage 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 is not 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 was addictive. As Wootton graphically illustrates, throughout history and right up to 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.
Introduction: Bad Medicine/Better Medicine
Part I: The Hippocratic Tradition
1. Hippocrates and Galen
2. Ancient Anatomy
3. The Canon
4. The Senses
Conclusion to Part I: The Placebo Effect
Part II: Revolution Postponed
5. Vesalius and Dissection
6. Harvey and Vivisection
7. The Invisible World
Conclusion to Part II: Trust Not the Physician
Part III: Modern Medicine
9. Birth of the Clinic
10. The Laboratory
11. John Snow and Colera
12. Puerperal Fever
13. Joseph Lister and Antiseptic Surgery
14. Alexander Fleming and Penicillin
Conclusion to Part III: Progress Delayed
Part Four: After Contagion
15. Doll, Bradford Hill, and Lung Cancer
16. Death Deferred
Epilogue: in response to the critics