Physician: Medicine and the Unsuspected Battle for Human Freedom

Physician: Medicine and the Unsuspected Battle for Human Freedom

By Richard Leviton
Charlottesviile, VA: Hampton Roads, 2000. Paperback, xii + 579 pages.

An emotionally colored mixture of incongruous elements, often angry, intended to disparage current medical healing practices, while touting obsolescent sickness care systems, this book is a jumble of news reports and quotations from the daily press, with few from respected scientific journals. Virulent attacks on physicians' associations and the current health care system mark the first chapter, followed by uncritical rambles through unproven fields of health care, new and ancient.

The book's statement of the relations between bacteria, bacteriophages, and viruses is incorrect. It often treats information and relationships described in fiction and motion pictures as valid scientific observations.

Alternative and complementary approaches to medical care are not necessarily in conflict with customary medical practice. The author unreasonably makes them so, overlooking that practitioners of each depend on an accurate knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and all other health care disciplines. All medical care requires an accurate diagnosis, must treat illness as part of the patient's life, and depends on remedies, whatever they may be, which should be regularly and thoroughly tested.

Change in all these elements should be expected. To prove means to test, not to confirm. Each form of therapy, orthodox or other, must be continually tested if it is to succeed or prevail. Systems, whether of care or of relationships to others or to Deity, can never be considered final statements if they are developed by human beings.

This book is worthless as a whole and unreliable as something to live by. It wanders from topic to topic, here scientific and there uncritical, with only an occasional piece of some worth.


March/April 2001