Paul Hartal


Medicine's Malady - Poem by Paul Hartal

In ancient China patients paid the doctor a fee
to keep them in good health. If they became sick,
the doctor returned the money.
But this was then and in another world.

Modern medicine in the information age
operates as a profit making enterprise,
in which ‘health care’ emerges
as an oxymoron.

In spite of the idealism of many devoted physicians,
mainstream medicine does not really provide
health care. Doctors nowadays are in the treatment
business wherein sickness has become a commodity.

But treatment is not identical with cure or healing.
And advanced technology cannot replace the need
for care and compassion.

Although Western medicine promotes the myth
that it is the best in the world,
the facts do not bear out this assertion.

Let us look at some statistical evidence of this.
According to the 2009-2013 data of the United Nations,
the United States of America ranks only 40th
in overall life expectancy, with 77.97 years,
lagging behind Cyprus, Puerto Rico and South Korea.
Japan and Hong Kong take first and second place
on the list, with 82.73 and 82.2 years, respectively.

Now, mind you, in Japan Traditional Chinese Medicine,
known as Kampo, is fully integrated
into the modern Japanese health care system
and in Hong Kong old traditions of healing
are alive and practiced widely, too.

Topic(s) of this poem: health, philosophy

Form: Prose Poem


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, November 1, 2015

Poem Edited: Wednesday, November 4, 2015


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