Medical Humanities: Historic Beliefs of Societal Value Patterns and Dehumanization of the Sacred Profession

  • Dr. Digvijay Pandya et al.


Health is wealth. The earthly journey between life and death depends on good mental and physical health. The bounties of nature are enjoyed well if one is blessed with sound health. However, in the recent decade, health has come out as a big issue because of the challenges it is facing from pollution, changed ecosystem, adulterated food, ingestion of chemicals through food articles, work pressure, changing social dynamics, breaking of family structure, narrowing down of families, rise of individuality etc. all these factors are directly or indirectly impacting on the physical and mental health of an individual. Rapid increase in diseases is compelling the patients to look up to doctors and health care providers.  Although, in the past few decades there had been tremendous breakthroughs in the treatment of diseases with the help of technology yet there is a link that is missing day-by-day between the patient and health benefits. Historically, the modern method of treatment of diseases through professional doctors started gaining reputation in late 18th century in America. It started gaining popularity because of its scientific methods of healing. By that time, historically and culturally, there was a conflict between modern and traditional healers within a community. Maureen Tuthill states in her book on Health and Sickness that, the learned physician came to exemplify the confident, intellectual leader who would stabilize the eroding stratification system in a post-Revolutionary society. The cultural tension created by these divergent views (i.e. modern and traditional methods of treatment) of the doctor in America endured for decades.  The American Medical Association consolidated the profession in late 19th c. and the American physician was recognised as a man of good social status. Later on, the common public showed inclination towards the professionally educated physician.  During those days the professionally trained physicians felt the need to use the title, Dr. so as show them distinctively from the traditional healers. With the passage of each decade scientific ways of modern treatment earned the trust of people. Rapid innovations, researches and introduction of new drugs developed a trust in allopathic means of healing. The doctors were largely research oriented individuals, they were empathetic and they had a holistic understanding of a patients condition. They had strong value system and they were not yet corrupted by business oriented medical practice.