“Should medicine ever fulfill its great ends, it must enter into the larger political and social life of our time, it must indicate the barriers which obstruct the normal completion of the life cycle and remove them. Should this ever come to pass, medicine, whatever it may then be, will become the common good of all.” Rudolph Virchow quote in The World Encyclopedia of Peace, Volume III, p. 362.
There should be ten times more medics where they are already numerous, and a thousand times more where rare.
The most important but least appreciated benefit of this medical reinforcement will become apparent during the next global pandemic. Instead of collapsing once a third or more of all healthcare professionals fall sick, this service could rapidly ramp up the number of hospital beds by recruiting newly trained healthcare providers to replace losses among everyday hospital staff. Otherwise, we can expect to face this 21st century challenge with 19th century levels of care and corresponding casualties.
Learners of healing should address a broad spectrum of human conditions most of which are neglected today. These treatments would range from internal factors (psychic and physical) to external ones (social and environmental). Every aspect should receive equal reverence and attention from Learners.
Robust public health promotes human genius. Failure to promote a better kind lowers a civilization’s IQ and multiplies its other troubles. Those could be reduced to a fraction of their current bulk, in direct proportion to that improvement.
To fulfill that mandate, Learners will legislate a constitutional guarantee of quality healthcare and organize a universal system. Privileged corporations, (insurance, pharmaceutical, teaching, nursing care, etc.) will be stripped of healthcare profits and converted into public utilities. Psychic and other forms of alternate healing will be studied in depth, especially the preventive benefits of well-timed sleep, best-quality micronutrition, corporeal microbe ecology and optimal hydration.
These days, only a third of American doctors claim membership to the American Medical Association. Its innate conservatism spells its doom and it is gradually fading away as we speak. In truth, its membership could surge once again, based on the recent recruitment of waves of American doctors for perpetual war.
I am no doubt being too optimistic about this decline. By hook or by crook, right-wingers have swept all that’s best off the American buffet table. Reactionary chic has become all the rage these days, complete with pointless wars, homegrown ineptitude and disaster, ambidextrous handouts to the rich and fraud at every tier of government. Is there any crime or misdemeanor these people have not perfected? They keep insisting that government must be incompetent. Man, how thoroughly they’ve confirmed their claim to ineptitude! No other group could have served as a better example of dogma-legitimized incompetence.
The AMA recruited its first adherents from bloody-apronned military surgeons who took their weapons catechism in the 1860s during the American Civil War. In unholy alliance with startup drug companies, the AMA suppressed its sister discipline, homeopathy.
Earlier in the 1800’s, Samuel Hannemann brought back the idea that certain drugs, administered in infinitesimal doses, could induce specific sets of signs and symptoms and cure ailments with similar ones.
Despite homeopathy’s early success, the AMA championed allopathic therapy that prescribed drugs in massive doses (at or just below toxic levels; and let’s not mention supertoxic drug interactions!) strictly to suppress symptoms. Even though homeopathic hospitals and colleges flourished up until then, the AMA and allied drug companies hounded most of them out of existence by World War II (sic).
As in the case of weapon religions, AMA conservatism has exhausted any usefulness it could once claim. These days, the primary goal of AMA conservatives is to boost their profit margin by denying the advantage of good healthcare automatically dispensed to all but the military and the rich.
Weapon medicine contends with disease and trauma deliberately inflicted. Soldiers in the field suffer like mistreated farm animals. Out in the weather and layered in filth, they must devour whatever garbage they can loot, dig from the ground or drag from the rear. In combat, the daily routine involves hordes of agonizing casualties, pandemic infection, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, exposure, malnutrition, grief, frustration, fear, rage, separation anxiety and psychiatric emergencies. In addition, seniority and combat survival determine who gets promoted among military leaders. Therefore, orthodox medicos must do their best with the tools at hand: crude drugs and sharp scalpels, to suppress their patients’ symptoms of illness, trauma and old age, as well as emotional reactions.
For weapon medics, reducing stress to promote health is absurd. Instead, warrior societies practice social triage, isolation of patients and post-insult, high-stress invasive treatments. No such medical system can maintain the health of a population undergoing greater and greater stress. As overall health deteriorates, medical expenses must skyrocket. After all, there is no “rear area” to which casualties may be evacuated for more civilized treatment. Hospitals become repositories of every infection known and unknown to mankind, and wind up, at best, killing as many people as they save.
Western medicine evolved just off the battlefield, to which Alexander the Gross brought surgeons along with his much-lauded pincushion Macedonian phalanx. Occidental medics didn’t investigate oriental acupuncture until after French military surgeons followed their Army into Indochina. The American Army didn’t establish a semi-adequate “Golden Hour” of helicopter emergency response until the Korean and Vietnam Wars. As a gesture of mercy, Napoleon’s senior surgeons equipped horse-drawn ambulances with sprung axles: special vehicles once set aside for the delicate behind of nobles.
Space-age ambulances continue to bounce screaming and/or choc- and dope-zombied casualties along too many of our bullet-swept, crash-strewn streets. More people die on our highways than in our wars, and far too many in wars overseas. Every war on this planet, every insurrection, every redundant massacre of innocents, every suicide bomb flash and car wreck is one more “too many” and largely avoidable, despite everything we've been told.
Even today, the medical community hasn't quite decided whether to keep shock victims warm under blankets or pump their chest with a freezing cocktail of lifesaving fluids. Flash-cooled victims of trauma and drowning appear to retain a longer survival rate, delayed bleed-outs, greater resistance to infection and extended immunity from brain death while they await delayed but crucial care from doctors out of reach. British combat surgeons seriously documented this capacity among their wounded patients during the Falklands War; as well as, among others, army doctors during the invasion of Murmansk, Russia, by Allied forces in 1918.
Victorian era tropical medicine and insect eradication programs protected white colonial garrisons; only aboriginal peoples as an afterthought (and many of those not even today.) Yellow fever and other tropical infections were finally conquered for that reason alone. This racist neglect continues today; it engenders, among other abuses, the mass genocide of AIDS that has engulfed Africa and the poorest corners of Asia. AIDS has spread predictably into every poor neighborhood on Earth—just like terrorism has. Presumably, once all those Third World babies, child parents and twenty-something grandparents succumb to AIDS, mass terror or mere malnutrition, they won’t require so much pesky international aid.
Sooner or later, this bias will bring similar plagues down on our heads in the First World. The best global public health results from that achieved at great distance from the richest nations. If you can ensure that someone living at the antipodes of your world would benefit from public healthcare as good as your own, yours will improve correspondingly.
Today, much more research money goes to curing trivial complaints of rich societies (baldness, geriatric impotence, foot fungus and pet neuroses) than to curing lethal tropical diseases.
The underlying causes of most of these diseases – chronic malnutrition and bad water – are carefully ignored or even fostered. This global neglect, and most local wars as well, have resulted from corporate monopolies of export monoculture for luxury export. The revenues from these kinds of enterprises fluctuates unpredictably and cannot put an end to these problems once and for all. Their beneficiaries don’t retain the will to overcome them and cease to profit from them.
Almost every war in Africa, during the Cold War and since, has had this in common. It involved control over a country’s restricted export: diamonds, timber, oil or some other monoculture or mineral resource. Simple autarky (self-sufficiency) in those countries would have blunted most of those wars.
I can hear officials of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund shriek bloody murder rather than allow this to happen. Learners will suggest that they change their mind—swiftly and with enthusiasm. They will discover, tardily but beyond dispute, that more profits accrue from this new policy. Practical charity will provide ten times more return than the ornate swindles they perform today. Who knew?
Weapon medicine took off during the Great Paroxysm (World War I sic) when most doctors rotated through years of combat internship. If not World War I (sic), then WWII (sick); and if not those, wars since. As a result, general practitioners vanished, most physicians became specialists, home visits were cut short, health services became hospital routines, and preventive healthcare was dismissed as irrelevant.
This recession to the militarist mean is not difficult to understand. On a battlefield, honest caregivers would instruct their patients to throw their weapons away and go home. Weapon elites are not amused by these instructions, unless their enemies adopt them unilaterally.
I’m counting on everyone to adopt them. Once that happens, we will see to what extent global health improves! I’ve heard that high quality healthcare could be delivered to everyone on Earth for something like the price of a year of the war in Iraq under Bush the Lesser. Instead, we submit to the paradoxical, hypocritical, ruinous and disease-aggravating medical mismanagement familiar to WeaponWorld.
A peace-oriented medical community would train many more deliverers of basic first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The English language should have another expression for this: a surchange of health and home health care providers, including personal aides, masseurs, acupuncturists, physical therapists, emergency medical technicians, hospice care-givers, pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, shamans, healers, herbalists and other specialists.
Couldn’t we look forward to a healthier society with so many more caregivers? A lot of them are in preparation today, yet their training is incoherent and chaotic. This confusion betrays reductive and fragmentary attempts by decadent WeaponWorld to apply holistic, PeaceWorld solutions to its problems even as they worsen. Those fixes are doomed to fail, since their application is too parochial and fragmentary. With the exception of its weapons projects, WeaponWorld forbids the pragmatic holism that PeaceWorld would require.
Learners of healing will practice their art on-site, up to but not exceeding their level of expertise. Those levels will determine which of an incremental pharmacopoeia of remedies and treatments these successors of “barefoot doctors” may administer and who among them will be qualified to deliver in-depth diagnoses involving many more consultations and referrals. Particular attention will be paid to powerful placebo effects reinforced by new healing rituals of great psychological impact.
The need to seek a second opinion will become unnecessary since this medical system will provide several professional opinions for every significant diagnosis. As a comfortable income becomes commonplace in any case (in multiples of the minimum necessary to escape poverty), expert cooperation and free referrals will replace competition for patients. It will eliminate the insular, “figure it out for yourself” attitude of present-day medicine, that promotes a growing incidence of errors. We should make use of deliberate redundancy to reduce these errors! The achievement of personal medical mastery (that WeaponWorld insists upon) has never been that important—what’s important would be a drop-off in error rates. Each patient had better be seen by a partnership of doctors or some more extensive medical team, to confirm their diagnoses and treatments. In recent studies, such teams have proven to be less error prone and more diagnostically accurate that lone practitioners.
Malpractice would draw immediate demotion to lower levels of healthcare responsibility and accelerated remedial coursework. Word would go out: “If your medical competence is suspect, we will seek treatment among better qualified replacements while you retrain and recertify yourself.”
Learners of Healing will saturate neighborhoods with basic education in nutrition and hygiene; they will teach preventive and elementary public health measures in every household, office and school.
Doctors with advanced training will be freed for home health visits. Primary healthcare providers will practice preventive medicine and long-term nursing care in the home. Rarely visited hospitals will only house the most demanding tasks of emergency and surgical care, teaching, research and disaster response.
Along with reorganizing the medical community, Learners will introduce conception-to-expiration, single-source and holistic healthcare on a global scale.
This may involve more ablutions of prayer, the washing of strangers’ feet (especially those of enemies), more restful sleep, proper micro-nutrition and adequate hydration. I am convinced that many chronic ailments stem at least in part from these deficiencies. In obedience to Mohammed’s dictum, everyone will wash their hands at least five times a day or else feel ritually unclean. This simple habit would block the easiest transmission route of most infectious diseases. It seems that bacteria may not mutate around the simple physics of soap and diligent scrubbing flushed with warm water (its temperature irrelevant except for your comfort; water hot enough to sterilize would blister the skin)—unlike complicated antibiotics that they seem genetically designed to neutralize in the long run. Also, new masks will block airborne pandemics (using powerful glues or static electricity? How do nose hairs block germs?)
Public health overwatch, pollution control, good nutrition, more exercise, health education (and no cars) would improve general health much more dramatically than any amount of research grants funding the serial torture of laboratory animals. Accurate, cheap and preemptive diagnoses – both medical and psychological – will replace the medical guesswork of today.
I also discovered – all by myself and without a doctor’s input beyond a physical therapist’s declaration that there was no mechanical reason for my chronic lower back pain – that my digestive disorders were the result of consuming tomatoes and other acidic foods and drinks (no more Coca Cola, soda or coffee for me!), as well as nuts and seeds (first chemical dissolution, then mechanical abrasion). Finally, that a teaspoon or less of baking soda mixed in a small glass of water every time I started hurting could put an end to back pain I’d suffered intermittently for years. My wife found the same solution for her digestive problems, only with an equivalent glass of vinegar and water in the morning. I just partook of a fine lasagna for the first time in years and chased it with a small glass of baking soda in water, with no pain after, and this treat didn’t cost me a week’s follow-up pain as I would have suffered in the past. Check out those treatments for yourself!
How many millions more suffer from similar complaints undiagnosed or treated at best symptomatically, instead of getting an accurate diagnosis of their primary ailment and the cure for it?
The self-care wisdom we pick up by trial and error after a lifetime of disease and suffering, Learners will acquire trouble-free during childhood.
What follows cannot be stressed enough. The survival of human civilization may depend on psychological testing and monitoring both universal and lifelong.
Weapon technology encourages ephemerization. In plain English, that means it is easier to induce mass casualties and destruction with the latest biological and nanotech weapons. By “easier,” I mean cheaper, less technically complicated, more accessible and whose development was easier to hide by individuals and groups not at all that powerful. Read “lone gunmen” and marginal terrorist cells along with their psychopathic leaders and sociopathic supporters.
Thanks to ex-President and dementia victim Ronald Reagan (glorified by his equally demented supporters), the richest nation on Earth has institutionalized homelessness: a national disgrace. These days, we let people run loose unsupervised (or imprison masses of them, worse yet) who hear voices in their head. Thus we risk the occasional axe murder and NRA-induced massacre of innocent victims in a restaurant or school. In the future, these marginal crimes could turn into attacks that sterilize entire cities and sub-continents.
All such homicidal maniacs, (especially the borderline, the latent, late bloomers and the most brilliant among them), will have to be watched very carefully over the course of their lives. We might as well survey everyone as a matter of course and iron out many more neuroses while they are tender and simpler to fix, or even before, using prenatal genetic surgery.
No longer will doctor’s visits be restricted to crisis situations once something had gone seriously wrong. Medical visits will become easier to schedule and more reliable than the purchase today of self-administered, over-the-counter palliatives. Four doctor’s visits per year will become the norm, if only to chat for a while about routine health concerns. Local Learners of Healing will dispense cheaper remedies (for the most part, placebo); they will diagnose anything amiss, targeting serious problems for extensive referrals and consultations from a broader, better trained and more accessible medical community.
The therapeutic laying on of hands will be studied systematically and practiced intensively. Anyone with a talent for that kind of thing will be recruited as a child into the medical community and dedicated to the highest levels of healing.
Many cost-effective therapies are deprived from us: a dearth that goes a long way toward satisfying weapon medical requirements for rationing, profit and privilege. The media applaud spectacular feats of life-support, surgical virtuosity and extraordinary intensive care; but they rarely report the hyper-inflated expense this type of care.
It’s amazing. In John Dos Passos’ trilogy, USA, diligent families lost everything for which they had worked so hard, to illness and its medical bills, lost jobs and income. He wrote his novel almost a century ago. Here we are, a hundred years later, and our worst nightmare is that our family will be ruined by bills for chronic illness and the helplessness of old age (60% of American bankruptcies).
This perfectly reasonable fear justifies social and economic inequalities that would be inexcusable otherwise, so that a few schemers might shield themselves from it. Almost everyone conspires with this travesty, hoping that they and their loved ones will reach some unattainable plateau of medical security by means of self-seeking, us-versus-them, lose-lose rivalry for quality health care. Greater wisdom would terminate this mass anxiety by providing free health care from conception to expiration.
Drug companies base their research and development budgets on “what the market will bear” rather than “what the population needs today.” This kind of waste will soon price itself beyond the reach of everyone except millionaires.
Self-serving medical care corporations will find themselves replaced by more thoughtful, civic-minded public utilities. Patients who require absurd levels of care should be allowed to die with dignity, free of pain and in full awareness of their option to reincarnate and be saved. My suspicion that a merciful God ministers even unto our death is confirmed by the epiphany that many near-death survivors experience. If this phenomenon merely results from imbalanced brain chemistry during the agony of death, so be it; drug companies should synthesize its components and medics, administer them during death throws. Less pain and fear, more mercy; no harm in that per Hippocrates.
Medical spending priorities should be revised on a global scale to reduce overpopulation, neonate mortality, epidemics, the ill effects of mental illness, obesity, undiagnosed criminality, family neglect and abuse—we should stop working so hard to retain signs of life in the near dead. The grim project of extending the lifespan of a privileged few beyond a statistical norm should be shelved. More pressing priorities need to be addressed first.
Once every newborn child enjoys a well-cherished and healthful childhood throughout adolescence – and only then – extending the decrepitude of the rich may cease to be obscene vampirism. The miracle of very old age with concurrent good health may be surprisingly easy without so many betrayals of ordinary morality.
Abortion is a source of sorrow for everyone involved. But this ghastly procedure cannot be reduced until the above measures have been fulfilled. If you insist on banning abortion, you should insist on these other items, first. It is not realistic to criminalize the actions of desperate parents; it would be better to relieve their despair and let them decide what to do with their child. Every child deserves a secure and dearly-loved upbringing.
This grim decision should be delegated to each mother and only to her, once advised by her chosen physicians without government intervention. God help her make such a devastating choice.