By: Sidney R. Garfield
Date: April 1970
Source: Garfield, Sidney R. "The Delivery of Medical Care." Scientific American 222, no. 4, April 1970, 15–23.
About the Author: Sidney R. Garfield, a surgeon at Contractors General Hospital in the middle of the California's Mojave Desert during the 1930s, created a health care plan in which members prepaid for access to care rather than paid a fee for each visit to a physician. In the late 1930s, he accepted an invitation from Henry Kaiser, a wealthy businessman, to help establish Kaiser Permanente, the first health maintenance organization (HMO) in the United States.
Despite his broad reforms, Franklin D. Roosevelt (served 1933–1945), president from 1933 to 1945, did not press Congress for government-sponsored medical coverage for Americans. His successor, Harry S. Truman (served 1945–1953), however, did favor it, and in the 1948 presidential campaign, both he and Progressive Party candidate Henry A. Wallace proposed government-sponsored coverage for all Americans, an idea opposed by Republican candidate Thomas Dewey. Truman won the election but could not budge Congress, where Republicans and conservative southern Democrats branded national health care as...
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"Our Experiences with the Silastic Gel Breast Prosthesis"
By: Thomas D. Cronin and Roger L. Greenberg
Date: July 1970
Source: Cronin, Thomas D., and Greenberg, Roger L. "Our Experiences with the Silastic Gel Breast Prosthesis." Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, July 1970, 1–7.
About the Authors: Thomas D. Cronin received an M.D. from the University of Texas Medical School and specialized in plastic surgery. In 1963, he and a colleague developed a silicone gel breast implant that he used in surgery. The University of Texas Medical School endowed a chair in plastic surgery in his honor.
Roger L. Greenberg practices plastic surgery in San Francisco, California. He has been president of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons and has chaired the Department of Plastic Surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
The desire for health was not alone in energizing the fitness movement of the 1970s. People jogged, bicycled, and otherwise sweated their way to fitness because they wanted to be lean and tan. The desire to improve appearance led women to consider breast enhancement in addition to exercise and diet. Breast augmentation bore similarities to the fitness movement of which it was a part. Both stemmed at...
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The National Cancer Act of 1971
By: Richard Nixon
Date: December 23, 1971
Source: The National Cancer Act of 1971. U.S. Public Law 92–218. 97th Cong. 1st sess., December 23, 1971. Reprinted in United States Statutes at Large. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972.
About the Author: Richard Milhous Nixon (1913–1994) was born in Yorba Linda, California, and received a law degree in 1937 from Duke University. In 1946, he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1952 he joined Dwight D. Eisenhower as candidate for vice president. He won the 1968 presidential election, but on August 8, 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, he became the only U.S. president to resign.
The development and widespread use of vaccines and antibiotics during the twentieth century greatly reduced the number of deaths from infectious diseases so that by the 1950s, heart disease and cancer were the leading killers of Americans. U.S. deaths from cancer grew steadily from 1900 to 1976, nearly quadrupling during these years. Modern medicine had done nothing to blunt this increase, noted a 1955 U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
The alarm over cancer grew in 1964 when the U.S. Department of Health,...
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Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973
By: Richard Nixon
Date: December 29, 1973
Source: Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973. U.S. Public Law 93–222. 93rd Cong. 1st sess. December 29, 1973. Reprinted in United States Statutes at Large. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1974.
About the Author: Richard Milhous Nixon (1913–1994) was born in Yorba Linda, California, and received a law degree in 1937 from Duke University. In 1946, he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1952 he joined Dwight D. Eisenhower as candidate for vice president. He won the 1968 presidential election but on August 8, 1974, he became the only U.S. president to resign.
Medical costs increased during the 1970s as they had in the previous decade. In 1970, Americans spent $74.9 billion for medical care, a figure that more than doubled to $212 billion in 1979. By then, medical costs totaled nearly 10 percent of gross domestic product (the total value of goods and services produced in the United States). Physician fees rose nearly 10 percent in 1977 alone, an increase 50 percent greater than the increase in prices for nonmedical goods and services. In 1974, orthopedic surgeons averaged $62,410 a year, and the next year the median...
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"Aortic Regurgitation in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis"
By: Joseph G. Caldwell
Source: Caldwell, Joseph G., et al. "Aortic Regurgitation in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis." Journal of Chronic Diseases 26, 1973, 187–194.
About the Author: Joseph G. Caldwell, who worked for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta when he and his colleagues published this article, received an MD from the University of Kentucky in 1970, specializing in endocrinology. In the early 2000s he worked in private practice as a physician.
The spirochete Treponema pallidum causes syphilis. (A spirochete is a class of bacteria.) The spirochete incubates in the body as long as three weeks, when it may cause lesions filled with clear fluid on genitals, the anus, fingers, lips, tongue, nipples, tonsils, and eyelids. The lesions cause no pain and disappear in three to six weeks. Their disappearance signals the end of the first stage of syphilis.
The second stage may overlap the first or may begin two to five weeks after the disappearance of the lesions. In this stage, the spirochete infects the lymph nodes and erupts in a second manifestation of lesions, which appear as a rash on the arms, palms, face, scalp, and soles of the feet....
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Death: The Final Stage of Growth
By: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Source: Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. Death: The Final Stage of Growth. London: Prentice-Hall, 1975.
About the Author: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926–) earned an M.D. in 1957 from the University of Switzerland and a second M.D., with a specialization in psychiatry, in 1963 from the University of Colorado. She holds both Swiss and U.S. citizenship and has written nine books on the medical, philosophical, and theological implications of death. In 1995, she suffered a series of strokes and has partially recovered. She lives in Arizona.
American medicine does not dwell on death but on the conquest of disease. Medicine, one likes to believe, has put death in retreat, postponing it until one is old and has lived a full life. The story of American medicine in the twentieth century has been the acquisition of new and better antibiotics and vaccines to save lives.
The federal government shares this view that medicine earns its keep by fighting death's approach. Congress created and funded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to combat disease. In the 1970s, Congress poured money into research to cure cancer....
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"Malpractice: The Problem in Perspective"
By: James M. Vaccarino
Date: August 22, 1977
Source: Vaccarino, James M. "Malpractice: The Problem in Perspective." Journal of the American Medical Association 238, no. 8, August 22, 1977, 861–863.
About the Author: James M. Vaccarino received a law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1957. After working in private practice, he joined the Massachusetts General Hospital as general counsel in 1972.
During the 1970s, malpractice arose as a medical and legal concern. Malpractice is an error in treating a patient that results either from the failure to implement the correct treatment or the initiation of an incorrect treatment. Malpractice is thus an error of commission or omission. In either case, the treatment or lack of it must harm a patient in a way correct treatment would have prevented. All these elements must be present for malpractice. Negligence, no matter how egregious, is not malpractice unless it harms a patient in a way correct treatment would have prevented.
Particularly damaging was the 1972 revelation that physicians at the U.S. Public Health Service had watched four hundred African Americans suffer progressive debilitation from syphilis. Many...
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The Complete Book of Running
By: James F. Fixx
Source: Fixx, James F. The Complete Book of Running. New York: Random House, 1977, 39–41, 42–45.
About the Author: James F. Fixx (1932–1984) was born in New York City and graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio. During the 1960s, he began jogging to trim down his weight from 220 pounds to 159 pounds. His books on jogging made his reputation. Ironically, Fixx died of a heart attack while jogging.
Exercise, in the form of bicycling, attracted Americans of all classes around 1900. Physicians praised cycling's health benefits. Ads featured husbands and wives cycling together, emphasizing the social aspect of the sport. But after Henry Ford unveiled the Model T in 1907, Americans had the mobility and the freedom to go wherever they pleased. The Model T transformed Americans from cyclists to drivers. The first exercise mania had spent itself.
During the 1970s, interest in exercise reemerged. Jogging, the archetypal sport of the decade, emphasized the communal spirit of cycling at the beginning of the century. As cycling had, it attracted men and women. Unlike the fitness movement at the turn of the century, though, that of the 1970s appealed primarily to...
(The entire section is 2529 words.)
Freedom to Die
By: Ruth Olive Russell
Source: Russell, Ruth Olive. Freedom to Die. New York: Human Sciences Press, 1977, 13, 15–17, 19–20, 33–34, 283.
About the Author: Ruth Olive Russell (1897–1979) was born in Ontario, Canada, and received a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Waterloo in Canada. She worked in private practice in Canada and the United States, developing an interest in medical ethics.
The tragedy of Karen Ann Quinlan focused attention during the 1970s on the questions of when life ends and who has the right to end life. On April 15, 1975, Quinlan slipped into a coma after consuming alcohol and tranquilizers. She stopped breathing, damaging her brain by depriving it of oxygen. Paramedics rushed her to Newton Memorial Hospital in New Jersey, where physicians feared the damage to her brain was permanent. Her parents hoped she would recover, but as the severity of damage to her brain became clear, they lost hope. Her father, Joseph Quinlan, compared her existence to that of a "vegetable." In her condition, Karen Quinlan was "not really living," said Joseph. She only remained alive, her parents believed, because a respirator kept her breathing.
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"Smallpox—Epitaph for a Killer?"
By: Donald A. Henderson
Date: December 1978
Source: Henderson, Donald A. "Smallpox—Epitaph for a Killer?" National Geographic 154, no. 6, December 1978, 796–805.
About the Author: Donald A. Henderson (1928–) was born in Ohio and received an M.D. from the University of Rochester in New York. In 1965, the World Health Organization appointed Henderson, then a professor at Johns Hopkins University, to direct its campaign to eradicate smallpox. In 1979, Henderson announced that the world was free of smallpox.
The virus Poxvirus variole causes smallpox. The virus incubates for ten to fourteen days in the body, causing chills, seizures, fever above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, vomiting, delirium, and stupor or coma. These symptoms peak on the second day and begin to subside thereafter, leading a victim to hope he has not contracted anything serious. The hope is false. Within days of feeling better, a victim will develop a sore throat, cough, and lesions on the mouth, throat, and respiratory tract. Days later, lesions erupt on the skin and fill with pus giving a victim a frightful appearance. Fever will return, and after ten days the lesions rupture, dry, and form scabs. Victims may die of internal...
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"A M*A*S*H Note for Docs"
By: Alan Alda
Date: May 28, 1979
Source: Alda, Alan. "A M*A*S*H Note for Docs." Time, May 28, 1979, 68.
About the Author: Alan Alda (1936–) was born in New York City and began acting at age sixteen. His role as Army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in the television program M*A*S*H made his reputation. He has been nominated for twenty-nine Emmy Awards, winning five times. He has also won three Directors Guild Awards, six Golden Globes, and seven People's Choice Awards. In 1994, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
The intimacy of the relationship between physician and patient diminished, many observers believed, as physician incomes grew, particularly during the 1960s. From 1962 to 1969, the median salary of male physicians and surgeons nearly...
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"Keynote Address: The Australia Antigen Story"
By: Baruch S. Blumberg
Date: November 1982
Source: Blumberg, Baruch S. "Keynote Address: The Australia Antigen Story," November 1982. In Hepatitis B: The Virus, the Disease, and the Vaccine. New York: Plenum Press, 1984, 7, 9–11, 12–14.
About the Author: Baruch S. Blumberg (1925–) was born in New York City and received an M.D. from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He won the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1976 along with Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek for their work with infectious diseases. He has been professor of medicine and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and became the first scientist and first American to hold the position of Master at Balliol College at Oxford University.
Hepatitis is a viral infection of which five types exist: A, B, C, D and E. One may contract Type A from contaminated food, milk, water, or seafood from contaminated water. Type B spreads through contact with infected blood, saliva, mucus, and feces, making health care professionals at risk for exposure to Type B. It also transmits through intercourse. Type C spreads through blood transfusion and accounts for 20 percent of cases. Type D, which kills most of its victims, is a complication of Type...
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By: Photo Researchers, Inc.
Source: Dowsett, A.B. "Legionella pneumophila." Photo Researchers, Inc. Image no. 2G6682.
The bacterium Legionella pneumophila causes Legionnaires' disease. The bacterium spreads through the air,
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