Dr David Stark Murray 1942

Introduction

Medical science has indeed taken its place—with food, shelter, and sex—as one of the primary necessities of life. Without health man cannot enjoy life; without some method of preserving and restoring health he is subject to many diseases and mishaps which may endanger life itself.

The human body is a complicated structure dependent for its perfect functioning on many internal and external factors ; and though some may go through a long life with practically no knowledge of their body and no conscious effort to main­tain its health, the majority of people at some time or other find themselves in need of assistance from those with expert knowledge of health and its maintenance.

In the course of centuries a considerable fund of knowledge of the normal functions of the body, of the diseases which affect them, and of methods of maintaining them in perfect order has been built up, and a system of resisting disease (especially when caused by external agents) has been developed. This machinery for saving the health of mankind is in the hands of the medical profession. From time to time exponents of methods of “healing ” other than those utilised and generally accepted by this profession have appeared, but few have stood the test of time or scientific investigation. Since Medicine is of such importance it is obviously pertinent to inquire how this machinery works and whether it gives to the individual the maximum service of which it is capable, and to ask Whether any part of the community receives a less efficient service than the machinery supplies for others.

It can be said with very general agreement that under present conditions the doctor may not be able to give his own best service to every patient, or he may be prevented from utilising to the fullest advantage the greater skill and knowledge of his more senior and more experienced colleagues.

The medical profession is now engaged on inquiries into its own machinery, and the intention of this book is to put before a wider public an indication of the advantages and disadvantages of our present system of medicine, and to consider whether changes could be made which would result in a medical system more closely related to the maintenance of the health of the individual citizen.

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