Advances in Medical Care

We are living longer these days, well some of us are. A lot of this has to do with health care, our providers are just as good as they ever were, but the resources that they can now call on, and advances in health care have added at least twenty years onto most life spans. I remember when as a boy many folk were worn out physically, by the time their retirement rolled in, and they didn’t have much time to enjoy their Golden Years.

Various machines had a lot to do with this as well, taking over much of the hard labouring work. The motor vehicle could be included in this as well. As well, many diseases that plagued mankind for a millennium, were slowly being controlled, and cures discovered by the medical world. Tuberculosis on its own caused so much sickness and misery in the community, and it alone resulted in the construction of Clinics and Hospitals throughout the Country. It is only in the last 60 years that it has been brought under control, and this has seen the closure of these purpose built institutions in our life time. Also at this time bathrooms were being added to homes and basic personal Hygiene was also a contributor to better health.

The GP structure in the medical world earlier was a little different too. In the town I was brought up in, there were two medical partitioners, and the Friendly Societies Lodges played their part in making medical knowledge available and affordable. Members joined lodges mainly because of their financial benefits, and they played a major role in accessing medical care. When a member visited a doctor, and very family was a member of one of the Lodges, so their medical visit was then subsidised by their lodge. For this service Doctors received a lump sum from the Lodges, which would amount to most of his annual income. This scheme extended to the chemists, but I did note, that most doctors back then were walking pharmacies. They carried in their bags a basic stock of the most popular medicines to be Dispensed on the spot. Linctus something or other. A standard tonic, cough medicine and suppressant. And boxes of tablets, some real, and some just placebos.

The doctors back then also ran what they called ‘surgeries’ from their rooms. You didn’t need an appointment for this. You just turned up, and were taken in for a consultation, as and when it was your turn. You had to be seriously ill, or bleeding to jump the queue. The Doctors also made house calls afternoons and mornings outside Surgery hours which was a large part of their work day. The Lodge subsidy also covered this, but it’s cost to the people was still very affordable.

Back then there was a list of diseases that was as long as your arm, and that took some of us early. But many of these are now mainly under control. Some are still lingering on because of some folk’s resistance to inoculation, or some other privately held reason. Smallpox has been irradiated, another feared affliction was infantile paralysis, this too is now also under control through. Dr J. Salk’s Programmes. We seldom hear of typhoid or Cholera today, but not so long ago, these were names of something that was to be feared.

There is still much out there that can cause you harm But if can achieve as much in the coming 100 years as we did in the past the world will be a much healthier happier place.

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