Bmj Usa: Letter

RAPID RESPONSES FROM BMJ.COM

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjusa.01030004 (Published 19 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:E15

This article originally appeared in BMJ USA

The paper by Summerfield provoked a spirited debate on bmj.com. As of February 13, 45 e-letters had been posted on bmj.com in response to the paper, a few of which are published below (in whole or in part).—Editor

Medicalization of health

  1. Christopher Buttery, professor of public health (kimro@crosslink.net)
  1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
  2. London, UK
  3. University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA
  4. Preston, UK
  5. Portland, Oregon, USA

    Editor—Thank you for reiterating the problem of medicalization of health. This issue first came to my attention when I read Ivan Illich's book Medical Nemesis in the late 1960s. This book should be part of every physician's bookshelf. This is an issue I discuss with my graduate students regularly, as the media keep inventing new diseases and epidemiologists are asked whether there really is such a disease. (Another good example is “chronic fatigue syndrome.”) Then, legislators try to decide whether such “diseases” should be covered by insurance. Then, the “complementary medicine” adherents come up with a new way of ripping off the elderly and poorly educated by suggesting a new expensive herbal remedy to treat the “problem.” And, the cost of delivering med-ical services is increased again.

    Sufferers of PTSD deserve to be taken seriously

    1. Ellen Goudsmit, medical archivist (ellengoudsmit@hotmail.com)
    1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
    2. London, UK
    3. University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA
    4. Preston, UK
    5. Portland, Oregon, USA

      Editor—I found Summerfield's paper on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) both lacking in understanding and unhelpful. The latest incarnation of DSM-IV reminds us that this category refers to people who have experienced or witnessed events …

      View Full Text

      Sign in

      Log in through your institution

      Free trial

      Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
      Sign up for a free trial

      Subscribe