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January 12, 1976

The End of Medicine

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

JAMA. 1976;235(2):210-211. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260280058034

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Mr Carlson does not like what many physicians do and, I suspect, does not think highly of many physicians. He wonders whether most persons are better or worse off for having consulted doctors who try to relieve the symptoms of disease but ignore the causes. He cites some statistics about the removal of normal ovaries and mentions the ill effects that have been reported to follow use of drugs such as chloramphenicol, isoproterenol, and thalidomide. Medical treatment, he comments, is judged without reference to the outcome for the patient. He finds the modern hospital the unhealthiest place around, because it lacks fresh air, sunshine, nutritious food, and opportunities for recreation and exercise.

The key to health, as Mr Carlson conceives it, lies in the relationship between human beings and their environment. The medicine of today pits man against a hostile world. It cannot manage the environmental insults that threaten him.