Overview of Medicine’s Origins, Social Impacts, Ethics and Trends Miguel A. Cruz
Thomas Edison State College
Miguel A. Cruz, Department of Pathology, Dwight Eisenhower Medical Center DDEAMC. This essay was written as part of written assignment 4 for the course of Current Trends & Applications (2012-11-APS-401-OL009), Thomas Edison State College. Correspondence concerning this essay should be addressed to Miguel A. Cruz, Department of Pathology, Dwight Eisenhower Medical Center, 300 Hospital Road Fort Gordon, GA 30905-5650.
This paper explores many aspects of the medical field including its origins, benefits, disadvantages, current ethical-political considerations, media perception, historical trends, and future trajectory. This paper also takes into account the numerous instances where medicine has made significant contributions to mankind, while also considering the ethical challenges that the medical field has faced throughout time. The significance of the potential constructive and destructive fiscal effects of medical development is an ongoing subject that affects medicine in our time, and is also considered in this research
Overview of Medicine
Origins of Medicine
From the dawn of civilization every human culture has had medical beliefs in order to provide explanations to events such as illness, the miracle of birth, and the inevitable arrival of death. Since the dawn of time, the cause of many medical conditions were attributed to a more primal set of beliefs such as witchcraft, planetary influence, demonic possession, and the simple bestowment of divine will on a misfortunate individual. Some of these faiths and positions are still active and remain in practice in some places around the globe, but the development of medical technology alongside scientific knowledge has reformed and taken over mysticism in most geographical areas and society. The earliest historical traces of medical science lead us to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks, the Romans, and the Mesopotamians to mention a few. The most prominent and easily overlooked of these examples are the Ancient Egyptians; due to the hot and dry climate in the arid regions of Egypt, a great deal of ancient papyri have survived the relentless test of time. The preservation of these precious artifacts have enabled historians and scientists to gain a significant amount of knowledge about their attitude towards medicine and their medical research. The Edwin Smith Papyrus, believed to be dated as early as 3000 BC, details various treatments and technologies used at that time to perform surgical procedures. The papyrus reveals that Egyptians had knowledge of the beneficial antibiotic properties of certain foods, and therefore implemented a diet rich in radish, garlic, and onion, which modern scientists have found to contain a rich amount of beneficial substances including Raphanin, Allicin, and Allistatin. It is now known that the consumption of these foodstuffs was extremely helpful and beneficial to the control and prevention of disease outbreaks in their population—especially in the crowded conditions at the work camps—allowing the Egyptians to maintain a healthy labor force essential to the construction of their marvelous structural masterpieces. Later, the Ebers Papyrus listed as many as 21 different treatments for cough, and also described in detail some external operations performed by the Egyptians. Although it is known that the Egyptians didn’t open the stomach while performing surgery, they were successful in removing cysts, as well as dealing with wounds and fractures with a degree of knowledge that was centuries ahead of their time. Evidence strongly indicates that Egyptians were also adept in eye surgery, since foreign objects inadvertently being blown into the eyes and causing inflammation were, and to this day, are still quite a common occurrence in...
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