Hughesair (Inflection Point)

Retired physician and air taxi operator, science writer and part time assistant professor, these editorials cover a wide range of topics. Mostly non political, mostly true, I write more from a lifetime of experience and from research, more science than convention. Subjects cover medicine, Alaska aviation, economics, technology and an occasional book review. Globalization or Democracy documents the historical roots of Oligarchy, the road to colonialism and tyranny

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Monday, July 24, 2023


 The political rejection of Hippocrates, the oath and the law sets medicine, science and healthcare back to the Dark Ages. Scientific medicine emerged from widespread mythology in ancient India, in Egypt, as evidenced in the Old Testament, but most spectacularly in the golden age of Greece. Not unlike Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, young Hippocrates sought a scientific explanation for disease, including nutrition, sanitation and the environment. Most significantly he put the patient first.

            Scientific medicine continues its struggle with mythology in many forms to this day. Religious restrictions against cutting-of-flesh, suturing, touching women and the threat of Sharia Law interfered with medical care in Africa. Expressing scientific belief contrary to the church during the Dark Ages or Reformation, led to sever consequences as well.

            Today, politics and bureaucracy replace the interface from the church. With little or no environmental or diagnostic consideration algorithms and protocols replace medical judgement. One size fits all, standardized care, equality. 

            Medical school admission, to be more inclusive, lowers the standards of admission with the belief that minorities from impoverished communities will return and better serve a constituency. Is that to say that a poor doctor will better serve the poor? Meanwhile, the medical bureaucracy in its wisdom, pays less for healthcare in lower income or rural areas. Insurance companies do it one better by attempting to pay less for the care of lower income patients.

            Greed runs rampant, not because physicians are greedy, but because certificate-of-need laws turned hospitals into monopolies, prioritizing corporate administration over patient care, expensive treatments and procedures over diagnosis and safety.

            Hippocrates served as a guiding light for two and a half millennium. Physicians studied Greek, translated Hippocrates and traveled to leading medical centers to become great physicians. Since the Flexner Report 1910, American medicine lead the frontiers of scientific medicine. A new wave of dysfunctional socialism, however, erases that leadership. Is it not time for physicians to rum healthcare, not the bureaucracy, the politicians, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry and not the insurance companies? Hippocratic medicine remains a sacred calling that puts science and the patient first.


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