How Media Is Helping Advance Medicine
Today’s average high school student often knows more about biology and medicine than most medical doctors did 100 years ago – even after many years of practice. Today’s medical doctors have access to an almost unprecedented amount of medical information, which is allowing medicine on the whole to advance at an almost astronomical rate.
Just to give you an idea of how rapidly medicine is advancing in the 21st century versus how slowly medical advancement has happened in the past, we can look at the practice of bloodletting. Bloodletting was first introduced by Hippocrates around 400 BC. He believed that good health was achieved by the balance of what he called the four humors. He also believed (rightly as it turns out) that most diseases are carried in the blood. Where he went wrong, however, was in assuming that diseases could be cured by simply draining out the bad blood.
It’s not hard to understand how these conclusions could be reached thousands of years ago, but the problem is, in 1745 – nearly 2,000 years later – Dr. Benjamin Rush was one of the most pre-eminent physicians in the US and an outspoken proponent of bloodletting. A practice that most likely killed millions of individuals, based on erroneous assumptions about biology, persisted for nearly 2,000 years.
Now compare that to modern advancements in medicine. In 1949, a Portuguese neurologist by the name of António Egas Moniz, shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for essentially discovering the lobotomy. By the early 1950’s, roughy 20,000 lobotomies had been performed in the US alone, but by the mid-1950’s the practice has almost completely been eradicated. One practice persisted for almost 2,000 years, one was discovered within 2 decades to be harmful and ineffective.
Almost invariably what made the difference was simultaneous advances in media and technology which allowed physicians, scientists, researchers and other medical professionals around the world to communicate with each other and share results and findings in a timely fashion. And that was 50 years ago.
With today’s advancements in technology, medical professionals have access to findings in peer review journals within a matter of weeks or even days of new discoveries being made, rather than waiting months or years. Even non-medical professionals have access to an astounding amount of medical information thanks to websites, apps and even YouTube videos.
At one time, if you sawed your thumb off when you were working in the garage, you could pretty much count on spending the rest of your life with no thumb. Today, a wide range of limbs and digits can actually be surgically reattached with stunning success if they are transported properly. Today, thanks to YouTube, you can search for videos on everything from how to properly transport a severed limb to ensure it will have the best chance of being successfully reattached, to how to clean a gunshot or knife wound.
While clearly, people should always seek professional medical assistance, there are always going to be emergencies and times when medical assistance is not readily available. Today’s technology is helping a great number of people know what to do in case of a medical emergency. Videos are available to show you what to do if you are bitten by a snake, how to treat a person going into shock and even what to do is someone is going into labor.
Not only are average citizens being helped by medical media, but even emergency personnel have access to an astounding array of medical information. Media is helping ordinary people act quickly in emergency situations, researchers to make developments and advancements more quickly and doctors to better diagnose symptoms they may never have encountered before.