Topics in the News
The Abortion Controversy
Roe v. Wade.
On 22 January 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its ruling making abortion legal throughout the country. In a historic decision, Roe v. Wade, the Court drafted a new set of nation-wide guidelines resulting in broadly liberalized abortion laws in the United States. Before the Supreme Court's decision, laws varied from state to state. Some states prohibited all abortions except those to save a mother's life. Others permitted abortions when a doctor found in "his best clinical judgment" that continued pregnancy would threaten the woman's life or health; if the fetus would be likely to be born defective; or if the pregnancy was the result of rape. The Supreme Court emphasized that this medical judgment should include all relevant factors: physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age.
The Court did not grant women unrestricted access to abortions. The decision to have an abortion during the first three months was to be made privately between the woman and her doctor, because during this period fewer women died from abortions than from normal childbirth. From this three-month period until the last ten weeks of pregnancy, the Court decreed, a state may regulate the abortion procedure by licensing and regulating abortion providers. Since the fetus is viable during...
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A Visit to China.
In September 1971 Dr. Paul Dudley White of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. E. Grey Dimond of the University of Missouri Medical School, along with their wives, were invited to the Peoples' Republic of China by the China Medical Association. When the western physicians expressed an interest in acupuncture, they were invited to witness several surgical procedures using this traditional form of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture involves the placement of needles at strategic points on the body as an anesthetic or to treat acute or chronic conditions. While acupuncture had been practiced for years among Chinese Americans, it was not until President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972 that this different means of treatment was publicized to other Americans.
How Does It Work?
Dr. John W. C. Fox, a Brooklyn anesthesiologist, hypothesized that it worked on the "gate control" technique. According to his idea, sensations passing along peripheral neural fibers must pass through a "gate" in the spinal cord before they are transmitted to the brain. Pain is transmitted along relatively thin fibers and tends to keep the gate open. Acupuncture needles placed in these fibers override the pain sensation by producing a vibratory stimulus that closes the gate and blocks the transmission of pain to the brain. The traditional Chinese...
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The Case of Karen Ann Quinlan
A Dangerous Cocktail.
In an early hour of the morning of 15 April 1975, Julia and Joseph Quinlan of Landing, New Jersey, received the call every parent dreads. The nurse in the intensive-care unit at Newton Memorial Hospital called to tell them that their twenty-one-year-old adopted daughter, Karen, had been brought to the emergency room. That night Karen had been at a friend's birthday party, where she drank gin and tonics and swallowed tranquilizers. After she came home her roommates checked on her, and when they discovered she was not breathing, they called the police.
By the time her parents saw her, she had lapsed into a coma. The doctors believed her brain damage was caused by a lack of oxygen, and the damage was irreversible, but they were unsure of the exact reason she stopped breathing. They placed her on a respirator, but within days of her admission she began to assume a fetal position. Her family hoped she would come out of the coma, but as they saw the brain damage progressing, they realized there was no hope. Her father concluded, "I'm sure that with the mechanism [the respirator] she could continue in the state she's in, but that's not really living. She's just a vegetable."
The Right to Die.Within a few weeks Karen's parents came to believe it was pointless and even...
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Deinstitutionalizing the Mentally Ill
The Rediscovery of Community.
The effort to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill was one example of the continuing extension of civil rights from the 1960s. Traditionally, the mentally ill were isolated in large state-run institutions and were often kept calm with heavy doses of drugs. Because of a growing trend emphasizing care at home and in the community, by the mid 1970s many mental institutions had released half or more of their inmates. This shift received strong encouragement from advocates of community psychiatry, who argued state hospitals reinforced disability and isolation, while local services and halfway houses could help return the mentally ill to normal roles in society.
Costs and Civil Rights.
The growing use of tranquilizers to treat patients on an outpatient basis also caused a movement away from mental hospitals. New Social Security regulations provided greater aid to states to support the aged in nursing homes instead of mental institutions. Taxpayers were increasingly reluctant to pay for facilities and personnel needed to treat the growing numbers of persons diagnosed as mentally ill. In the 1970s there was a growing impetus to protect the civil rights of the mentally ill, largely because of reports of bad conditions in mental institutions. Facilities were overcrowded, and investigators labeled some as snake pits....
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The Economics of Health Care
A Crisis of Cost.
"You always used to think in this country that there would be bad times followed by good times," said a Chicago housewife. "Now, maybe it's bad times followed by hard times followed by harder times." As the economy of the 1970s declined dollars bought less, and unemployment and inflation reached double digits. Medical care was expensive, and its cost rose at a rate far exceeding the general rise in the cost of living. By 1979 the total cost of medical care reached $212.2 billion or 9.1 percent of the gross national product (GNP), up from $749 billion (7.6 percent of the GNP) in 1970, an increase of nearly 20 percent. For individuals personal income was not adequate for financing medical care, except for those who remained relatively healthy and had enormous wealth. One in five families had no health insurance at all, and almost one in four was not covered for out-of-hospital costs. Many families were ruined by staggering medical bills, especially in cases of catastrophic illness. In 1970 a survey found that 75 percent of American heads of families agreed that there was a crisis in health care in the United States. It was understood that this was a crisis of money.
Physicians' Fees and Health Insurance.
Why had health-care costs risen so rapidly, and why did they not seem to follow basic economic laws? Doctors' fees...
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The Fitness Craze
Aerobics to Yoga.
From "exercises you can do in your car" to "exercises you can do lying down," Americans in the 1970s would do anything to improve their health, cure a bad back, flatten a stomach, or handle their anxieties. Aerobics, dancing, isometrics, stretching, jogging, walking, bicycling, swimming, yoga—Americans increasingly worked out. By 1977 a record 87.5 million U.S. adults over the age of eighteen claimed to participate in athletic activities. The most visible sign of the fitness boom were some eight million joggers who trotted along big-city park paths and suburban byways. Popular marathons attracted thousands of participants; and Sen. William Proxmire, a five-mile-a-day runner, claimed, "It's a super feeling, like being immortal." "A good run," said a woman jogger in New York City, "makes you feel sort of holy."
Unlike traditional sports, the new athletics minimized the importance of competition. Aerobic dancing, home-conditioning equipment, and enrollment in health spas fueled a $2-billion-a-year supply industry. The movement's bible was said to be Dallas physician Kenneth H. Cooper's Aerobics, first published in 1968. Jim Fixx's The Complete Book of Running topped the national best-seller lists for months. A more controversial book co-authored by Lawrence E. Morehouse and Leonard Gross,...
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Health Maintenance Organizations
Prepaid Group Practice.
Americans became more familiar with health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, during the 1970s. HMOs were first regarded as a radical fringe movement in American medicine, but the crisis in medical economics brought about a change in perception. An HMO is a prepaid group practice in which a person, or his or her employer, pays a monthly premium for comprehensive health care services. HMOs try to keep costs down by avoiding hospitalization and by emphasizing preventive services. Physicians work in HMOs on salary rather than for specific fees. Members receive doctors' services, laboratory tests, X rays, and perhaps prescription drugs and other health needs at little or no additional cost. Hospital coverage is also provided. There are some disadvantages to HMOs. Patients might be treated by whoever is on duty (especially nights or week-ends) rather than their doctor of choice, and patients have to use the physicians that are available within the organization. Nevertheless, HMOs attracted much attention in the United States because of their potential for cost control.
HMOs got their start in the debates over health care during the Depression. Before World War II health insurance emerged for some as an employment benefit. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, commonly referred to as the "Blues," rose during...
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Legionnaires' Disease and the Science of Epidemiology
The Disease Detectives.
When an epidemic breaks out, the immediate question for medical professionals is how to control the outbreak. Often public health officials known as epidemiologists collect evidence helping to break the chain of transmission and, in the case of several new diseases that arose during the 1970s, identify the cause of the epidemic. Known as the disease detectives, epidemiologists begin by asking questions: Who are the victims? What sets them apart from those who are not sick? Where do they live? Where were they when they became ill? What were they doing? What did they eat and drink?
A Killer Disease.
The "who" and the "where" in August 1976 were the people who had attended a Pennsylvania American Legion convention in Philadelphia. Twenty-nine people died of an unidentified, flulike disease, and others were hospitalized with pneumonialike symptoms of high fever, chest pains, and lung congestion. All of them had either been among the ten thousand conventioneers or could be linked to the convention site. About one out of every five people who caught the disease died.
Detectives at Work.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, were called in to investigate the puzzling outbreak. The CDC is a federal governmental agency that does...
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Polly Murray was alarmed. One by one her family developed a strange combination of shared symptoms: rashes, headaches, pain and stiffness in their joints. "By the summer of 1975 my husband and two of the children were on crutches. Meanwhile I kept hearing about other people, most of them children, with the same symptoms." So she contacted state health authorities. At the same time, Yale University rheumatologist Allen Steere received a phone call about a mysterious outbreak of arthritis around Lyme, Connecticut. Many children were affected, and since juvenile arthritis was rare and was not known to be infectious, Steere was almost certain he was looking at a new disease. Unlike Legionnaires' disease, this new disease was debilitating but not normally fatal.
What Was It?
Using epidemiological techniques, Steere found that all of the victims including Polly Murray and her family lived near wooded areas and first noticed their symptoms in summer or fall. Warm weather is insect time, and woods are a perfect breeding ground. Many patients mentioned an unusual bull's-eye rash that appeared weeks before their symptoms began. It was similar to a rash reported in Europe, thought to be caused by a tick bite.
Researchers collected ticks, and in 1979 a medical...
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New Technologies in Medicine
The Technological Revolution in Medicine.
New developments in science and technology continued to change the face of medicine throughout the decade. The Korean and Vietnam wars both contributed new types of military technology which later found peacetime use in medicine. Advanced computers appeared in the early
Medicine borrowed sonar technology from the military and used it to identify body organs and problems without surgery. This sonar technology, called ultrasound, could detect gallstones and prostate-gland malfunctions and had many other uses. Its most wide-spread use was...
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Nursing in Transition
Upgrading of Education.
In the 1970s the most important trend in nursing was autonomy. Nurses struggled to take on more decision-making responsibilities than they had in the past. The upgrading of nursing education symbolized this trend as nurses entered the profession with at least a college-level degree in nursing. The traditional hospital school, offering a two-year, posthigh-school training program and diploma, was being phased out. Many nurses additionally received a master's or doctorate degree.
A Profession in Turmoil.
America's 1.4 million nurses in 1979 made up the largest group of health care professionals in the country. But shortages on hospital nursing staffs and high turnover rates caused hospitals to close some of their floors. Low pay, long hours, and overwork led to strikes and slowdowns by nurses in many cities. Within the profession itself there was an identity problem. Traditionally, nurses followed doctors' orders, but the woman's rights movement spurred on the development of a new, more active kind of nurse—the nurse-practitioner.
New Specialties for Nurses.
The nurse-practitioner was the first of many professional changes. Nurse-practitioners provide primary care to patients in areas with a doctor shortage. Their skills emphasize preventive medicine and early...
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Nutritionists and the Battle Over Sugared Cereals
In the early 1970s, sugared breakfast cereals came under fire from several different quarters. Health care professionals attacked the poor nutritional value of the cereals. Reflecting their concerns, Sen. George McGovern issued a report arguing that "Too much fat, too much sugar or salt… are linked directly to heart disease, cancer, obesity and stroke, among other killer diseases. Six of ten leading causes of death in the United States have been linked to our diets." McGovern and physicians were concerned that a diet of sugared cereal established poor eating habits in Americans. Other critics of the breakfast cereal industry complained to the Federal Trade Commission that cereal companies were engaging in monopolistic practices and inflating prices, especially through the use of commercials aimed at children. Hunger concultant Robert Burnett Choate, Jr., linked these criticisms of the cereal companies in his testimony before Congress on 23 July 1970. Choate argued that forty of the top sixty dry cereals had empty calories. Cereal manufacturers countered by adding vitamins and other nutrients but continued to promote their heavily sweetened products to children via advertisements with cuddly bears and adorable tigers during weekend-morning "kidvid." As the passion for physical fitness led to a reassessment of American eating habits, these breakfast cereals became the...
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The Swine Flu Scare
Fears of a Major Pandemic.
When in February 1976 swine flu was first identified as the agent responsible for a small outbreak of respiratory disease among recruits at Fort Dix, New Jersey, there was ample cause for concern. Hsw 1 N 1, the swine flu virus, was the cause of the pandemic of 1918, which killed twenty million people worldwide and five hundred thousand in the United States. Since the late 1920s the strain could be found only in pigs; no human being under age fifty could have built up antibodies to it. This meant that what might (or might not) be a virulent human flu virus had acquired a new outer coat of antigenic proteins that might (or might not) make it very contagious to humans. The federal government's Centers for Disease Control recommended a major effort to produce a vaccine against the new strain.
President Ford's Decision.
In March President Gerald Ford announced an unprecedented nationwide campaign to inoculate every American against swine flu. Congress appropriated $135 million to finance the effort, and after a variety of delays and concerns about proper dosages, it got under way on 1 October.
In the first ten days of the program, more than one million people were vaccinated. Then, first in Pittsburgh and later elsewhere,...
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The Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Perhaps the most shocking medical story of 1972 was the tale of the medical experiments in Tuskegee, Alabama. For forty years the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a study in which four hundred African-American syphilis victims unknowingly served as the subjects of a medical experiment. Even though penicillin, a cure for syphilis, became available in 1943, the study subjects were never treated for the disease. Instead the study used the corpses of the subjects to determine the effects of disease on the human body. The officials of the health service who began the study were long retired by 1972; but their successors expressed serious doubts about the morality of the investigation. The experiment raised important new ethical questions for the medical profession.
Under examination by the press, the Public Health Service was not able to locate a formal protocol for the experiment. Later it was learned that one had never existed. Procedure simply evolved. Public and political outrage led to a national review of federal guidelines on human experimentation, and the result was a complete reworking of HEW regulations on human experimentation.
For the men in the Tuskegee study, the changes were all too late. Beginning in April 1973 the...
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Who Worked in Health Care?
A Typical Medical Student/Physician.
By 1979 a record 63,800 students were enrolled in medical schools. The first-year medical student was typically a white male between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-three. (Men accounted for 74.7 percent of the medical student body.) He came from an upper- or upper-middle-class family and was likely to have a parent or close relative who was a physician. He had at least a bachelor's degree with a 3.4 (on a 4.0 scale) premedical grade point average. Most likely his undergraduate college major was in biology, chemistry, zoology, premedicine, or psychology. While women made up 25.3 percent of medical students by the end of the decade (an increase of almost 16 percent), they remained a mere 10 percent of practicing physicians. In 1979-1980, 5.7 percent of the students enrolled in medical school were African-Americans, a considerable increase over ten or twenty years before. U.S. medical schools reported fewer admissions of students from lower- and middle-income families as medical education costs increased dramatically. Borrowing for their education often led students to choose specialized and areas of practice to help them pay off their debts, and this contributed to the decline in relatively lower-paid family and general practitioners.
Women in Health Care.
In the mid 1970s women made up 75 percent of...
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Blumberg, Baruch S. 1925-
The 1976 Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology was awarded jointly to American virologists Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg and Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek for their discoveries concerning mechanisms involved in the origin and spread of infectious diseases. Dr. Blumberg's identification of a chemical marker in the blood showing the presence of hepatitis B paved the way for an experimental anti-hepatitis B vaccine for this most severe and often fatal form of the liver inflammation known as viral hepatitis.
Dr. Blumberg's interest in how and why people of different racial, ethnic, and family backgrounds react differently to disease in terms of resistance and susceptibility took him around the world. "In a lot of these places," he said, "I would be the only outsider except for some anthropologist. So, naturally, I got interested in anthropology and such questions as how social behaviors influence susceptibility to disease. I've always been interested in human variation,...
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Cannon, Geraldine 1935-
WOMAN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST
A Would-Be Physician.
Geraldine Cannon wanted to be a doctor. But when this young grandmother applied to the University of Chicago and Northwestern University medical schools in 1974 at the age of thirty-nine, she was told that anyone over the age of thirty had little chance of being admitted. This struck her as unfair to women, who are more likely than men to interrupt their educations to raise a family. Cannon, then a senior at Trinity College in Illinois, complained to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).
Her complaint vanished into HEW's bureaucracy. Frustrated, she took her case to federal courts and the lower courts, but they told her only HEW could enforce the section of the civil rights laws, Title IX, that bans sex discrimination against students and applicants to educational institutions receiving federal funds. Finally, in May 1979 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled six to three that individuals could bring sex discrimination suits against schools and colleges through the courts.
A Breakthrough for Woman's Rights.
Women's groups applauded the decision, and so did White House special assistant Sarah Weddington, who argued it was better to have individuals able to bring their cases to court than to...
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Edelin, Kenneth C. 1937-
Dr. Kenneth C. Edelin was found guilty of manslaughter in Boston on 15 February 1975. He was accused of the death of a male fetus after a legal abortion he performed at the Boston City Hospital on 3 October 1973. The prosecution charged that Dr. Edelin killed the fetus by depriving it of life-sustaining oxygen while it was still in the womb. The prosecution argued that the fetus was old enough to be viable. However, viability was questionable because the gestational age was somewhere between eighteen and twenty-four weeks. The defense maintained that Dr. Edelin could not have committed manslaughter because the fetus was not a person and therefore no person ever existed. Furthermore, the defense maintained, the law had never given rights to the unborn. The fetus never lived and therefore could not have been killed. Dr. Edelin was sentenced to one year's probation and continued to practice at Boston City Hospital.
The Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade (1973) prevented states from interfering with a woman's right to an elective abortion. In his charge to the jury the judge said that Roe v. Wade protected Dr. Edelin from criminal conduct for having performed the abortion. But because Massachusetts had not taken legislative action to regulate abortion...
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Henderson, Donald A. 1928-
DIRECTOR OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
PROGRAM TO ERADICATE SMALLPOX
A Rare Award.
In 1976 the United Nations (UN) World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva received the rarely given Albert Lasker Public Health Service Award for "the imminent eradication of smallpox—the first and only disease ever to be eradicated from the earth." When Dr. Donald A. Henderson, the director of the organization's global smallpox eradication program, accepted the award for the UN agency, he said that only two known smallpox cases existed—in Somalia. Final confirmation of eradication required atleast two years of search in every infected area in the world. A few years later the world became free of this dread disease.
A Global Eradication Program.
Henderson was born in Ohio, graduated from the University of Rochester Medical School, and joined HEW's disease-control center, where he worked to control such diseases as measles and smallpox. When President Lyndon B. Johnson decided to offer assistance in smallpox eradication to eighteen countries of western and central Africa in 1965, Henderson was designated the program's director. Six months later WHO asked him to come to Geneva to organize an intensified global eradication program. The goal was to stamp out smallpox in ten years.
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Kohut, Heinz 1913-1981
CREATOR OF SELF-PSYCHOLOGY
A Challenge to Freud.
According to Sigmund Freud, the Oedipus complex—a boy's aggressive impulse against the adult father and love for the mother, accompanied by castration fear—is the central conflict in a child's development. Nonresolution of this complex could lead to neurotic behavior in the adult. Heinz Kohut, the creator of a new body of analytic theory called self-psychology, focused instead on the narcissist—the person whose vital mental health dimension of self-love has gone amiss. His new explanations and treatment of the narcissist's problems bypassed the Oedipus stage and caused conflicts in the psychoanalytic community.
As the German son of a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother during the Hitler era, Kohut was forced to flee Vienna under Nazi racial laws. He traveled first to Britain, then to the United States, where he became a leading practitioner and teacher of Freudian theory. Kohut believed it was the disruption of his life in Germany and Austria and the challenge to his love of Germanic culture that made him "alert to the problems of the fragmented personality and how it tries to cure itself."
A New Treatment.
Self-psychology was a new method of treating this fragmented, narcissistic...
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Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth 1926-
A Societal Taboo on Discussion of Death.
When Swiss-born psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her 1969 best-selling book, On Death and Dying, most people in the United States, including those in the medical profession, were reluctant to confront death openly. Kübler-Ross found that medical professionals typically abandoned the dying patient. They dropped in occasionally to see how things were going but spent as little time as possible with the terminally ill. Even for physicians, death was a taboo subject.
The Five Stages of Dying.
In her series of conversations with dying patients, Dr. Kübler-Ross identified five main stages through which terminally ill patients pass. The first stage is Denial, the "not me" phase when the patient is unwilling or unable to accept the fact of imminent death. Anger, the "why me?" stage, sets in when symptoms make further denial impossible. The "why now?" stage or Bargaining, is when the patient...
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Meriwether, W. Delano 1943-
HEMATOLOGIST AND PHYSICIAN-ATHLETE
Dr. W. Delano Meriwether, the director of the federal government's 1976 ambitious and controversial swine flu immunization program, was the first African-American student to integrate Duke University's School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. He developed an interest in medical research and decided to become a hematologist. Hematology is the study of the anatomy, physiology, pathology, and therapeutics of blood. Dr. Meriwether's studies centered on leukemia and sickle-cell anemia. After graduation he became affiliated with the National Institutes of Health, where he worked with young leukemia patients.
In 1970, in an effort to take his mind off the depressing aspects of the tragic situation of the leukemia victims he treated, he took up running in the evenings on a high-school track. At the age of twenty-seven, without any previous training in track or any other organized sport, he won two National Amateur Athletic Union sprinting championships. He became a legend for his unorthodox but winning running form (poor starts out of the block compensated for by incredible bursts of speed), his odd track costume (snug gold swimming trunks, a white hospital shirt, and gold and white suspenders), and his low-key manner. In his successes he symbolized...
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Schmidt, Elwood L. 1931-
A Doctor Shortage.
In the rich Permian Basin oil fields of south-eastern New Mexico stands the Jal General Hospital, built in 1961. By 1971 it had fifteen double rooms, an emergency room, and two operating rooms, and it served a community of almost forty-five hundred people. The only doctor in town and the only physician responsible for the hospital staff of twenty-six was a forty-year-old general practitioner (G.P.) named Elwood L. Schmidt.
A General Practitioner's Day.
On a typical day Dr. Schmidt was likely to treat patients for duodenal ulcers, upper respiratory infections, possible heart attacks, acute bronchitis, anxiety states, morning sickness, infected knees, temporomandibular arthritis, rashes, gallstones, coughs, and high blood pressure. He might have to perform appendectomies and cesarean sections. Dr. Schmidt admitted, "I like the variety. I don't think I could stand the sameness of the specialties …On the other hand, I know my limitations—in surgery, anyway… I know when to refer, or defer, and knock on wood …—I've never had any serious trouble. I've never even had a malpractice suit."
A Problem of Distribution of Physicians.
Dr. Schmidt illustrated the problem of physician maldistribution when he commented, "I was practicing...
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Thomas, Lewis 1913-
Notes of a Biology Watcher.
Dr. Lewis Thomas became known to the lay community in 1971 when he began writing, in language accessible to the nonscientific world, a series of essays for the New England Journal of Medicine that he called "Notes of a Biology Watcher." These essays were spotted by Viking Press, and in 1974 twenty-nine of his essays appeared in The Lives of a Cell; Notes of a Biology Watcher. His work received national attention and critical acceptance, and he was awarded a National Book Award in the arts and letters category in 1975. In 1983 he followed his earlier success with The Youngest Science: Notes of a Medicine-Watcher.
In 1973 Dr. Thomas began heading one of the world's major institutions in the field of cancer research as president and chief executive officer of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In trying to find a candidate for the job, the trustees looked for a man of Thomas's broad vision and scientific knowledge, rather than a cancer specialist or a professional administrator....
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Yalow, Rosalyn Sussman 1921-
NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING MEDICAL PHYSICIST
The Second Woman Winner in Medicine.
In 1977 Rosalyn S. Yalow became the second woman ever to win the Nobel Prize for medicine. She was honored for her development of radioimmunoassay (RIA), an application of nuclear physics in clinical medicine. Her technique made it possible for scientists to use radio-isotopic tracers to measure the concentration of hundreds of pharmacological and biological substances in the blood and other fluids of the human body. Dr. Yalow first invented the technique in 1959 to measure the amount of insulin in the blood of adult diabetics.
A Woman Pioneer.
After World War II the Veterans Administration (VA) began a research program to explore the use of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. One of the hospitals chosen for the nuclear-medicine project was the VA hospital in the Bronx, which hired Dr. Yalow as a consultant in nuclear physics in 1947, two years after she became the second woman to receive a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois. In collaboration with Dr. Solomon A. Berson, her associate from 1950 until his death in 1972, Dr. Yalow explored the uses of radioactive iodine and developed a revolutionary method of RIA.
RIA is a...
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People in the News
On 21 September 1970 two physicians, Werner A. Bleyer and Robert T. Brekenridge, advised mothers to avoid taking aspirin in the latter stages of pregnancy to avoid developing bleeding problems in their babies.
Health, Education, and Welfare secretary Joseph A. Califano attacked the tobacco industry on 11 January 1978 with his statement that cigarette smoking is "slow-motion suicide." But President Jimmy Carter undercut Califano's anti-smoking campaign during his visit to North Carolina by pledging government support of efforts to make cigarettes "even safer than they are."
Dr. Morris E. Chafetz, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, reported on 18 February 1972 that alcoholism was the nation's greatest drug problem, with as many as nine million Americans affected.
On 23 July 1970 U.S. breakfast cereals came under fire from hunger consultant Robert Burnett Choate, Jr., who testified before a Senate committee that forty of the top sixty dry cereals had little nutritional content, with the worst advertised to children on television.
Full-scale testing of the swine flu vaccine to be used in the largest, most intensive U.S. immunization program began 21 April 1976, when Dr. Theodore Cooper, assistant secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare,...
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NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS FOR MEDICINE
Julius Axelrod (United States), Ulf von Euler (Sweden), and Bernard Katz (Great Britain, born in Germany) for their discoveries of humoral transmitters in the nerve terminals and the mechanism for their storage, release, and inactivation.
Earl W. Sutherland, Jr., (United States), for his discoveries concerning the mechanisms or actions of hormones.
Gerald M. Edelman (United States) and Rodney R. Porter (Great Britain) for their work in immunology on the chemical structure of antibodies.
Karl von Frisch (Austria), Konrad Lorenz (Austria), and Niko Tinbergen (Great Britain, born in the Netherlands) for their discoveries of the organization and elicitation of individual and social behavioral patterns in animals, including those with genetic foundations.
Albert Clause (United States, born in Luxembourg), Christian Rene de Duve (Belgium, born in England), and George E. Palade (United States, born in Romania) for their founding of cell-biology science and work on the structural and...
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Dr. Lucie Adelsberger, 75, medical researcher and immunologist who discovered a link between red blood cell changes as an incipient cancer warning; imprisoned in Auschwitz by the Nazis, she reported her ordeal in her best-seller A Report of the Facts, 2 November 1971.
Dr. Walter Clement Alvarez, 93, a Mayo Clinic specialist (1926-1951) who became a widely syndicated writer on health subjects after his retirement, 18 June 1978.
Dr. Virginia Apgar, 65, developer of the Apgar Score, a test to determine quickly the health of a newborn infant, 7 August 1974.
Dr. Walter Sydney Atkinson, 86, prominent Canadian-born ophthalmologist and eye surgeon who presided over various professional organizations, 6 January 1978.
Dr. Pearce Bailey, 73, neurologist, author, and the first director of the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, 23 June 1976.
Dr. Henry K. Beecher, 72, helped make anesthesiology a specialized field of medicine, 25 July 1976.
Dr. Charles Best, 79, physician and codiscoverer of insulin treatment for diabetes, 31 March 1978.
Dr. Grete L. Bibring, 78, a protégé and later associate of Sigmund Freud who in the 1930s...
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James Lee Anderson, The West Point Fitness and Diet Book (New York: Rawson, 1977);
Earl R. Babbie, Science and Morality in Medicine. A Survey of Medical Educators (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970);
Samuel J. Barr and Dan Abelow, A Woman's Choice (New York: Rawson, 1977);
H. S. Becker, B. Geer, and S. J. Miller, "Medical Education," in Handbook of Medical Sociology, edited by H. Freeman, S. Levine, and L. Reeder (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972);
Melvin Berger, Disease Detectives (New York: Crowell, 1978);
Boston Women's Health Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973);
Baruch Brody, Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life: A Philosophical View (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1975);
E. Richard Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979);
John J. Burt, Personal Health Behavior in Today's Society (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1972);
Daniel Callahan, Abortion: Law, Choice and Morality (New York: Macmillan, 1970);
Rita Ricardo Campbell, Economics of Health and Public Policy (Washington,...
(The entire section is 837 words.)
Important Events in Medicine and Health, 1970–1979
- Hospital-care costs in the United States reach an average of $81 per patient per day, with average patient costs of $664.28 per stay.
- The first nerve transplant is performed.
- On January 1, only 12 percent of U.S. physicians are in group practices.
- On April 1, Congress bans cigarette ads on radio and television beginning January 1, 1971.
- On April 3, Congress passes the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
- On July 1, the most liberal abortion law in the United States takes effect in the state of New York.
- On July 23, children's advocate Robert Burnett Choats, Jr., testifies before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee that breakfast cereals have too much sugar and too few nutrients.
- On July 27, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that birth-control pills may produce blood clots.
- On October 28, the FDA orders the makers of baby food to label the nutritional value of their products.
- On December 15, the FDA announces that, at a minimum, nearly one million cans of tuna fish have been removed from the market as a precaution because tests indicated mercury contamination.
- On December 23, the FDA announces that excessive amounts of mercury have been found in 89...
(The entire section is 2310 words.)