Health

The dashed dreams of medical quackery

White South Africans harbour numerous carefully nurtured prejudices about their fellow citizens and delusions about themselves. One is that blacks are uneducated and backward, eschewing reason for superstition. Whites, in contrast, are masters of reason, hacking a scientific path through thickets of ignorance. Such assumptions are particularly glaring in health matters. Although the term “witchdoctor”…

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Beware the angry ordinary man!

I took an unusual step two days ago. I started a petition against Discovery Health, the administrators of Discovery Medical Aid. I have good reason to be angry, but it seems being angry, as I and so many other doctors, dentists and other health professionals are, is not enough. I am fighting for the right…

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Living in constant fear

ON Thursday 19 September, South Africans heard why this remains a country where its people are still living in constant fear. Two decades of African National Congress self-interest and bungling have failed to curb crime, despite the asinine claptrap with which SA’s minister of police Nathi Mthethwa insulted the country. Millions of ordinary South Africans…

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A beginner’s guide to dealing with smartphone addiction

Well done on having the courage to read this! Don’t be afraid. Think of why you need to abstain from (or at least minimise) using smartphones and other devices. Make a list of reasons. This will require a lot of honesty. But by being honest you are being kind to yourself and others. These reasons…

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A little known history of cocaine (Part 6)

For part five of the series, please click here. History has a number of valuable lessons to teach us not only about drugs, but also about ourselves. Problematically however, we still have yet to learn many of those lessons. While the “war on drugs” has begun to fade from view, at least in official rhetoric,…

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Social media in healthcare and why the doctorsaurs became extinct

Sometimes I feel very alone and vulnerable here. You see, it is rare that doctors air their views on social media (SM), and I have done a fair bit of that on this forum. If you sift out all my posts pertaining to healthcare and read them in sequence, you will have a pretty representative…

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A big, big idea to reform private healthcare

The dynamics of private healthcare in South Africa are like a multigang bar-room brawl, with protagonists slugging it out, bloodying noses on all sides, retreating for a moment, and then rushing back into the fray. It’s easy to stand on the fringes, braying for changes and reform. It’s a lot harder coming up with suggestions…

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Beyond the ‘House of God’ – how medicine hasn’t really changed at all

In 1978, as I neared the end of high school and readied myself for medical training, a book called House of God (HOG) was published by a doctor under the pseudonym Samuel Shem. By the time I read it as an intern eight years later it had become a cult classic among doctors. Everyone I…

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Capitalism and/as suffering

No one in their right mind would associate capitalism with suffering, would they? Isn’t it about enjoyment of commodities, ostentatious consumption, celebrity life and wealth accumulation? And what is there about all this that could be connected with “suffering”? Of course, one could elaborate, as Hardt and Negri do in Multitude (2005) and elsewhere, about…

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When surgeons become wise

I noticed something different about my driving habits lately. At a traffic light I used to accept the green as an open invitation to drive through unconcerned, confident that other drivers would see the red and do what they are supposed to do, ie stop. I don’t do that anymore. I always look to see…

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