An American Health Dilemma: A Medical History of African Americans and the Problem of Race: Beginnings to 1900

Routledge
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At times mirroring and at times shockingly disparate to the rise of traditional white American medicine, the history of African-American health care is a story of traditional healers; root doctors; granny midwives; underappreciated and overworked African-American physicians; scrupulous and unscrupulous white doctors and scientists; governmental support and neglect; epidemics; and poverty. Virtually every part of this story revolves around race. More than 50 years after the publication of An American Dilemma, Gunnar Myrdal's 1944 classic about race relations in the USA, An American Health Dilemma presents a comprehensive and groundbreaking history and social analysis of race, race relations and the African-American medical and public health experience. Beginning with the origins of western medicine and science in Egypt, Greece and Rome the authors explore the relationship between race, medicine, and health care from the precursors of American science and medicine through the days of the slave trade with the harrowing middle passage and equally deadly breaking-in period through the Civil War and the gains of reconstruction and the reversals caused by Jim Crow laws. It offers an extensive examination of the history of intellectual and scientific racism that evolved to give sanction to the mistreatment, medical abuse, and neglect of African Americans and other non-white people. Also included are biographical portraits of black medical pioneers like James McCune Smith, the first African American to earn a degree from a European university, and anecdotal vignettes,like the tragic story of "the Hottentot Venus", which illustrate larger themes.

An American Health Dilemma promises to become an irreplaceable and essential look at African-American and medical history and will provide an invaluable baseline for future exploration of race and racism in the American health system.
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Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Oct 2, 2012
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Pages
616
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ISBN
9781135960483
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / Modern / General
History / Social History
History / United States / General
Medical / History
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This content is DRM protected.
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From a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a riveting history of New York's iconic public hospital that charts the turbulent rise of American medicine.

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Before the advent of modern antibiotics, one’s life could be
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study of the lives of George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas
Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, and James and Dolley Madison away from the
usual lens of politics to the unique perspective of sickness, health, and
medicine in their era. For the founders, republican ideals fostered a reciprocal
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the encounters of these American founders with illness and disease, as well as
their viewpoints about good health, not only provides us with a richer and more
nuanced insight into their lives, but also opens a window into the practice of
medicine in the eighteenth century, which is at once intimate, personal, and
first hand. Perhaps most importantly, today’s American public health
initiatives have their roots in the work of America’s founders, for they
recognized early on that government had compelling reasons to shoulder some new
responsibilities with respect to ensuring the health and well-being of its
citizenry.
The state of medicine and public healthcare today is still a
work in progress, but these founders played a significant role in beginning the
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No One Was Turned Away is a book about the importance of public hospitals to New York City. At a time when less and less value seems to be placed on public institutions, argues author Sandra Opdycke, it is both useful and prudent to consider what this particular set of public institutions has meant to this particular city over the last hundred years, and to ponder what its loss might mean as well. Opdycke suggests that if these public hospitals close or convert to private management--as is currently being discussed--then a vital element of the civic life of New York City will be irretrievably lost. The story is told primarily through the history of Bellevue Hospital, the largest public hospital in the city and the oldest in the nation. Following Bellevue through the twentieth century, Opdycke meticulously charts the fluctuating fortunes of the city's public hospital system. Readers will learn how medical technology, urban politics, changing immigration patterns, economic booms and busts, labor unions, health insurance, Medicaid, and managed care have interacted to shape both the social and professional environments of New York's public hospitals. Having entered the twentieth century with high hopes for a grand expansion, Bellevue now faces financial and political pressures so acute that its very future is in doubt. In order to give context to the Bellevue experience, Opdycke also tracks the history of a private facility over the same century: New York Hospital. By noting the points at which the paths of these two mighty institutions have overlapped--as well as the ways in which they have diverged--this book clearly and persuasively highlights the significance of public hospitals to the city. No One Was Turned Away shows that private facilities like New York Hospital have generally provided superb care for their patients, but that in every era they have also excluded certain groups. This exclusion has occurred for various reasons, such as patients' diagnoses, their social characteristics, behavior, or financial status--or simply because of a lack of unoccupied beds. Fortunately, however, year in and year out, Bellevue and its fellow public facilities have acted as the city's medical safety net. Opdycke's book maintains that public hospitals will be as essential in the future as they have been in the past. This is a thoughtful and well-written study that will appeal to anyone interested in the history of medicine, public policy, urban affairs, or the City of New York.
From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.

The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers—and indeed the whole medical establishment—with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
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