Medical Profession Changes Between Religion, Science, Skill, Ethics, Law and Economics

Luciana R. Angeletti


How has the medical profession changed during the centuries? How has the evolution of the profession been influenced by the balance of different issues, e.g. magic, religion, philosophy, science, technology, ethics, law and/or economics? One needs to examine many historical changes leading from the hierarchized medicine of Ancient Egypt to the Asklepiadic and Hippocratic medicine at the time of Plato, from the newly organized medicine of the Renaissance to the emerging social medicine of the XIX century, from the nosological medicine centered on the evaluation of the symptoms to the medicine which explores the human body through technologies. Furthermore, an overview from the past to the future should analyze the new doctor-patient relationship in a health system of managed care, between market and solidarity, between the efficientistic guidelines of the providers (hospitals, physicians, etc.) and an anthropocentric view of the rights of the citizen-customers. These problems are presented and discussed by many Authors in three issues of Medicina nei Secoli (II/III.1997-I, 1998) as an aid to understanding what it means to be a physician today, from the past to the future.

  Key words: Physician - Profession - Changes - Ethics

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