Medicine In America Essay

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James Cassedy’s Medicine in America, A Short History takes a comprehensive look at medical progress in America from its colonial days to the present time. The book takes on five different themes in discussing medicine. First, it discusses the medical establishment, and how it develops over time. Second, it looks at the alternative to established medicine. Alternatives consist of any kind of medical practice outside the orthodox practice of the time. Third, Cassedy explores the science of medicine, taking time to recognize individuals who make significant discoveries in the field of medicine. The role of government in science is the fourth theme studied by Cassedy. The government makes considerable efforts into the regulation of medical…show more content…
The separation of the colonies from Great Britain caused a break in medical advancement in America. Many physicians saw fit to pack up and return home. Main stream medicine at the time could be considered barbaric by today’s standards. Treatments such as excessive blood letting, which was thought to balance the body’s four humors, often did more harm than good. Sometimes they even led to death. The government began efforts at this time to pass laws requiring physicians be licensed. Thirteen states passed such laws, but eleven eventually repealed the laws. The government reluctantly involved itself in matters such as quarantines and public vaccinations. The spread of the population westward resulted in the lack of available physicians. This led to the rise of many people turning to unorthodox methods of medicine. Quacks, or people who claimed medical knowledge who really had none, often hurt people rather than cure them. "Irregular" practitioners began to use new methods in surgery, hygiene beliefs, and new medical systems that were generally frowned upon because the public was not used to it. It took awhile for the United States to become advanced and wealthy enough to produce any serious output in scientific discovery. In 1807, Thomas Jefferson encouraged the medical community to look into research more. Members
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