The caduceus is the traditional symbol that features two snakes winding around a winged staff. It is often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine in the U.S. Doctor’s offices and hospitals.
The caduceus is actually a symbol (with ancient Greek origins) to represent commerce, negotiation and even trickery. The correct Greek symbol for medicine is the Rod of Asclepius —a single snake hugging a staff, without wings. The erroneous usage of the symbol in the U.S. serves as a metaphor for problems also unique to the United States, which concern doctors facilitating incredible amounts of spending and commerce for medicine. We have the highest GDP percentage in the world for spending on medicine.
American Medicine Facts:
- In no other country are pharmaceutical companies able to directly market to consumers.
- In no other country are complicated medical procedures so widely recommended and performed and sold by doctors.
- Sales trainers advise doctors how to best close the sell, for medical procedures for the most profit.
- The US has the highest incidence of medical error in the world. Your risk of dying by going to the doctor (for reasons unassociated for the illness you came to treat), is greater in the US, than any other country.
Still it cannot be argued that in the US, our advanced medicine saves more lives from what would be terminal conditions than any other place on earth.
John Librett received his PhD in Health Promotion & Education. He has made his life’s mission to help individuals who have been diagnosed with illnesses which typically require complicated medical procedures to take charge of their care and receive expert advice and testing to find solutions which have less incidence of side effects and error and improve health outcomes. Utah Stories has invited him to write our feature story.
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