Medicine as metaphor

In a letter to the Irish Independent, Marcus De Brun writes: “Years ago, if you got sick you could just get sicker and leave the outcome up to Mother Nature, or if you had the “shillins” you could visit the surgeon-barber and perhaps live a bit longer, albeit in the same conditions that probably made you sick in the first place. Today surgeons don’t cut hair and they charge a little more, but the options for the non-medical card holder remain largely unchanged.

Back then, if you could afford the ancillary services of the barber, he might offer an array of options; from amputation to trephining of the skull (boring a hole in your head to let your headache out), the application of leeches, or perhaps a tasty syrup of radishes, pigs liver and urine.

Whilst medicine has evolved in recent centuries the fields of economics and politics remain largely steeped in the practices of yesteryear.

While we hear talk of ‘austerity budgets’ ‘fiscal targets’ and the troika, the truth of our present economic ‘remedy’ is rarely discussed in its real and prescient form.

The mainstay of Ireland’s economic plan for the future is built upon the old practice of blood letting. There is a haemorrhage of 1,000 young people from Ireland each week, a trend recently referred to by Michael Noonan as a ‘lifestyle choice’.” (Independent) >


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