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The fall of medicine

Despite medicine's huge advances over the past 50 years, doctors are disillusioned and the public are neurotic about their health. Why? Medical invention ran out of steam in the mid-1970s and the vacuum was filled by two flawed theories-the social/environmental theory of disease and the new genetics

By James Le Fanu   July 1999

A solitary statistic is a dreary thing; but when combined, statistics can reveal questions that previously remained hidden. Thus it is only of passing interest to learn that more than two thirds of doctors qualifying ten years ago have “regrets” about their chosen career. We all have spasms of self-doubt; doctors are no exception. But when the same “regrets” were expressed by only 28 per cent of doctors qualifying 20 years ago, and 16 per cent 30 years ago, then a pattern is clearly emerging.

This is not the only sign that medicine is in trouble. Surveys reveal that the…

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