Dr. Fuchs -- a Ph.D. in economics and an expert in ""community health"" -- has the bedside manner of a Mr. Hyde. In...

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WHO SHALL LIVE?: Health, Economies, and Social Choice

Dr. Fuchs -- a Ph.D. in economics and an expert in ""community health"" -- has the bedside manner of a Mr. Hyde. In opposition to what he calls ""medical care enthusiasts,"" he maintains that health has much less to do with treatment than with general living conditions. Very well: does he promote the material improvement of those conditions? No, because ""nature"" has decreed ""scarcity."" Thus we need ""modification of patient behavior"" instead. This means we must accept current inability to cure chronic diseases like arthritis, rather than expand funds for research and preventive medicine. And what is needed is not more physicians, but more reliance on ""caring,"" if half-trained, paraprofessionals. Fuchs has a scheme for tough administration of hospitals which, he admits, might lead to worse service for patients. But they're better off at home anyway. Unlike more humanistically disposed writers such as, for example, Warren G. Magnuson & Elliot A. Segal's How Much For Health? (KR, p. 1043), Fuchs denies that most medical care, e.g., surgery, involves any benefit to society. . .as if the welfare of all citizens didn't depend on a healthy, productive population. The book includes a proposal for compulsory health insurance; the main emphasis remains a sort of pseudo-pioneer spirit -- live like the Mormons and you won't get sick. Anyone who knows the high technological level and future development of medicine needed to save and enhance one's own or others' lives will conclude that it is Fuchs' behavior which needs modifying.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Basic Books

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1974