Medicine Essay: Progress or Regress?
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It is ordinary for people to visit different doctors once, twice, or even more times a month. There is a belief that for each sickness, there is its treatment. There is another opinion that medicine has developed in comparison to its previous state. Is it true? Which transformations were experienced by medicine on its way to becoming one of the most important spheres of people's interests? What did medicine with its experiments and results change in people's self-appreciation of their body?
Every change in world's history influences such ordinary and never mentioned thing as everydayness. The medicine has its own victories in this sphere of constant changes. For example, since the development of medicine and the ways of treatment, ordinary people lost their experience of a sickness. Before new medicaments such as antibiotics appeared people were not able to recover fast. There was a beginning of a whole dramatic story when someone from the family got sick and was at a risk of death because of flu, which seems a common and an easily treatable disease nowadays. Back then, this person spent weeks in bed and all their neighbors and relatives were asking about their state and were trying to help with vitamins and hot drinks.
There was always a day that marked a great change. This day was crucial because a doctor was to tell how serious the disease was. Relatives would be standing at the door waiting for a verdict. A doctor would be standing near the patient, examining them. If a patient was sweating a lot during this intercourse, a doctor would congratulate the waiting crowd and go home.
After the appearance of antibiotics, such dramatic stories were reduced to the minimum. There were fewer days spent at home during sickness because the sickness now was fought by medicaments instead of family worries and hot drinks. As a result, nowadays people are keener to experience depression because they do not have enough time on their own even when they are sick. The rhythm of modern life requires us to be ready to work after two or three days since the moment we noticed the symptoms of flu, or, what is even more common, we do not stay at home at all and keep on working, taking pills on the way to work and back.
Moreover, children lose the feeling of a caring mother being around. Before modern types of medical practices emerged, there was a whole system of taking care of a sick child. A mother was cooking hot chicken soup, preparing tea and spent a lot of time near the child’s bed. Now, each mother just gives pills to a child or sends their children to doctors and that is all in most cases.
Even the conditions in hospitals changed. Before the twentieth century, hospitals were not such a public place compared to the current state of things. People were attending hospitals only in certain specific cases. There was a fear to be infected with something while attending a hospital. On the contrary, nowadays, hospitals are similar to shopping malls. People go there even when they are not ill at all. There is a new practice which is called preventive treatment. People attend doctors in order not to be cured but to be informed about the possibility of catching something or being sick.
Modern media spreads the idea that preventing a problem is better than treating it, however, sometimes it is misunderstood. Some people make an appointment because of anything very little and spend their days in a constant fear to discover a disease. It happens, that in order to prevent the disease, they take unnecessary medicine that injuries their immune system.
Health care became more like health investigation. Many scientists, especially geneticist, research everything that can help them to forecast possible sicknesses for different people. They are not talking about causes of a sickness anymore. The thing they are interested in is a factor of risk.
That is how those scary signs on cigarette packs appeared. Cigarettes are not the pure reason of cancer, but they increase the risk factor of it. People should count a number of risk factors they are surrounded with in order to know which possible infection or sickness they may catch.
What about a relationship between a doctor and a patient? Patients are becoming subjects in those relationships, too. A doctor should provide them with a big amount of information, otherwise, the patient might not believe the recommendations. As geneticists and other sciences connected to people's health developed, people got the ability and obligations to analyze their own health. That is why a doctor now becomes just a person who should consult. A patient and a doctor communicate in a dialogue instead of being on more of student-teacher terms.
A patient is obliged to provide a doctor with an exhaustive information about their health. A doctor is bounded to tell a patient about all possible ways of treatment. Before the twentieth century, doctors had a complete power over a patient. They were able to do whatever they wanted to without asking for permission. At the same time, patients were able to save certain secrets to themselves.
The other thing is that nowadays medicine is considered to be more humanistic, when in fact it is not. There are still a lot of experiments on people, even more than there were before. Many patients are treated with placebo while others are taking innovative pills because doctors decided to make an experiment.
There is a big constantly growing difference between more prosperous countries and others. In developed countries, there are possibilities to live with illness when at the same time people in poor countries die from it. People from developed countries have the ability to choose how to live with their sickness. During the twentieth century, such thing as Paralympic Games was established. It is a symbol of nowadays society that makes health to be the most important value. People are ashamed of their bodies if they do not fit into standards. People torture themselves just in order to get to the dreamed place of a normal life.
At the same time, there is no understanding of who is a healthy person and who is not. With a development of knowledge about human’s body, science can find a sign of sickness in everyone. As a result, people have an unrealistic and unattainable standard, which is the cause of dramatic dissatisfaction within society.
The last example of the changes that happened to people's everyday life because of the development of medicine is the shift of personal life. People organize their day-to-day activities with a reference to their sickness. People now not only have three meals per day but also include different activities to their weekly tasks taking their sickness as a basis. Previously, a sick person was lying in a hospital and doing all the prescribed procedures. After their release from the hospital, they returned to normal life. Today, people wake up and take pills, they go to a doctor instead of heading up to work right after breakfast. They visit drugstore and do evening procedures before going to bed.
That is why there cannot be one and strict criteria for calling certain epoch better than previous ones. There are always different pitfalls, even in medicine.