Cover image for Hippocrates assailed : the American health delivery system
Hippocrates assailed : the American health delivery system
Falk, Gerhard, 1924-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : University Press of America, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 380 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RA395.A3 F337 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Hippocrates Assailed discusses the numerous changes in the American Health Care Delivery System during the past twenty years. Gerhard Falk points out that the changes resulting from the vast technological improvements in medicine, surgery, nursing, and dentistry have increased the gap between patient expectations and the availability of health care. He explores the patients-rights movement, the role of government, and the financial issues in connection with the insurance industry. Falk focuses on the introduction of the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) as an instrument of health care rationing to constrain the rising cost of medical care. He also addresses the failure of many HMOs to adequately protect and treat patients as they carefully manage profits and interfere with physician autonomy. Falk's broad examination not only discusses modern medical institutions, but also deals with the place of exercise, hospitalization, psychiatric institutions, and the nursing home, in American society.

Author Notes

Gerhard Falk is Professor of Sociology at Buffalo State College and the author of Sex, Gender and Social Change (University Press of America, 1998) and American Judaism in Transition (University Press of America, 1995).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Falk (sociology, Buffalo State College) grounds his book in considerable research, but mastery of the literature does not compensate for lack of a clear, consistent, and compelling thesis. He attacks health maintenance organizations (HMOs), but the critique (much of which is justified) remains isolated from the problems of medicine that prompted wide-scale adoption of prepaid medical plans. In addition, Falk offers no alternative beyond a return to fee-for-service medicine, certainly no panacea for the problems that he raises. The dysfunction of the US health care system predated HMOs. Falk's point that the US ranks 17th in the world in infant mortality (an anomaly that predates by decades the ubiquity of HMOs) represents one of many logical inconsistencies. The argument he constructs in the first chapter dissipates in later ones. What follows is disjointed, fact-filled, and without narrative ties to an overarching theme. Chapters on medical education, practice, surgery, nursing, psychotherapy, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, self-help, mental hospitals, and nursing homes are descriptive and opinionated, often without factual support, and lack coherent development. Some information may be valuable to researchers, but others will get lost in the avalanche of information, and for the serious student the book does not contribute to the historiography of the field. J. P. Brickman United States Merchant Marine Academy

Table of Contents

Part 1
Chapter I American Medicine-An Overview at the End of the Centuryp. 1
Chapter II The Political Development of Twentieth Century American Medicinep. 27
Chapter III The Education of Physicians: Scientific Specialists or Humanitarians?p. 49
Chapter IV The Practice of Medicine-the Physician in Actionp. 79
Chapter V Working by Hand-the World of the Surgeonp. 115
Chapter VI The Caring Profession-Nursing the Sickp. 139
Chapter VII Healing the Soul-Psychotherapy Nowp. 165
Chapter VIII Magic Potions-Pharmacy for Everyonep. 191
Chapter IX Health Delivery from Head to Foot: Dentistry, Optometry, etc.p. 215
Chapter X Patient, Heal Yourself-Exercise and Nutritionp. 237
Part 2
Chapter XI The Hospital Establishmentp. 261
Chapter XII The Mental Hospitalp. 285
Chapter XIII The American Nursing Homep. 309
Bibliographyp. 333
Indexp. 371