Medicine's Ten Greatest Discoveries

Steven B. Harris sbharris at
Sat Sep 5 20:08:41 EST 1998

In <8dkI1.1704$c3.3533280 at> "David Lloyd-Jones"
<dlj at> writes: 

>Quite apart from which more and more US jurisdictions are allowing
>chiropractors and +ACI-psychologists+ACI- to practice medicine,
including hospital
>privileges, the ability to write legal prescriptions, and the right to
>on and rape the insurance companies.
>This may help account for the fact that the United States is dead last
>life expectancy among all the wealthy nations -- Canada, Western
Europe and
>Scandinavia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore.

   Not life expectancy at age 40.  Nor life expectancy in some parts of
the United states, such as Utah and Minnesota.  These facts are enough
to indicate the problem has nothing to do with the medical
establishment, unless you think doctors and medicine are somehow
different in Utah and Minnesota (and as a Utah doctor, I'd be
interested in your very specific reasons for this, if you want to go
that route.)

   Low US life expectany is due to just one thing: high neonatal and
infant mortality.  Part of that is due to the fact that the US counts
many severely premature births as live births, whereas they are counted
as miscarriages in countries where they quickly die.  We're handicapped
already from that.  The second problem is that infant mortality, and
mortality among male adolescents and young men in US inner cities,
especially among minority groups, is far higher than the rest of the
country (when even a few people die young, it does terrible things to
average stats on life expectancy).  However, the US medical system is
not to blame for crack babies or for young drug dealers shooting each
other in the head.  These are not problems medicine can deal with.  Not
anywhere on the planet.  And no matter how advanced.  Social problems
these are, to be sure.  American social problems, to be sure.  Blame
them on the country if you must, but don't blame them on the doctors.

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.  

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