Letter: Ending the ‘Monopoly of Physicians’
To the Editor:
Your Aug. 4 editorial, “Bottom-Up Medicine,” criticizing Professor John Wasson’s advocacy of patients getting involved in their own treatment goes entirely in the wrong direction for individuals and collectively for the nation. Overdependence on the medical establishment for health care was recognized over 40 years ago by Ivan Illich in his prescient book Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health. In short, he proclaimed that medicine has not justified the faith with which people have turned over to doctors and the medical system the fundamental decisions about their bodies and their lives. He claimed then that “it can be reversed only through a recovery of the will to self-care ... which imposes limits on the professional monopoly of physicians.” Our current national obsession with affordable health care from others rather than personal health care by ourselves is proof positive of how correct he was.