Final Word from Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's probably safe to say that fewer people understand swine flu today than understood collateralized debt obligations or credit default swaps when the financial crisis broke out. Just as the unfolding of that crisis exposed the dangers and insufficiencies of the banking system, the swine-flu crisis has the potential to shine an unfavorable light on the health industry. The Hippocratic Oath says nothing about profit, but medicine has become an industry interested in little else. Idealists who become doctors in the naive pursuit of helping people are quickly disillusioned. Research labs are heavily funded by the public and private sectors but are often used to "prove" what brings the most profit, not what is true, safe or healthy. (Brno's Int'l Clinical Research Center risks becoming a local example of this mentality.) Money devoted to corrupt, wasteful or self-interested endeavors retard or even reverse medical and scientific advancement by taking funds away from useful research. Time will tell whether this has been the case with swine flu.[Czech Republic ICRC Mayo Clinic healthcare]

Glossary of difficult words

Hippocratic Oath - an oath stating the obligations and proper conduct of doctors;

pursuit - the action of following or seeking someone or something;

to disillusion - to cause someone to realize that a belief or ideal is false;

endeavor - an enterprise or undertaking;

to retard - to delay or hold back in terms of progress, development or accomplishment;

advancement - development or improvement.


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