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Hippocratic Oaths: Medicine and Its Discontents [Paperback]

Raymond Tallis
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

14 July 2005
In Hippocratic oaths the physician and philosopher Raymond Tallis yokes together his diverse intellectual interests to address important questions about our well-being. In a series of stimulating and impassioned arguments he establishes the truth about, among many other things, recent health scares, explains why patients compete for our doctors' and nurses' time; why the exploding popularity of alternative therapies is actually bad for our health; and how one man's view of the MMR vaccine influenced a nation. Hippocratic Oaths is the summation of a lifetime's thought and medical practice, by one of Britain's most original thinkers. It will, quite simply, change for ever the way we think about ourselves and our health.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; New edition edition (14 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843541270
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843541271
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Tallis...is a high achiever with a range of expertise that would leave Jonathan Miller gasping.' -- Walter Ellis Sunday Times

‘A brilliant tract against the times.’ -- Frank Field, Spectator

‘Professor Tallis is a brilliant man, who puts his literary talents at the service of truth and humanity.’ -- Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Raymond Tallis is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester, and has published over 150 research papers, articles and textbooks. He is also a poet and a novelist as well as a renowned philosopher. And his recent work, Enemies of Hope, brings together his many strands of thought. The Raymond Tallis reader has recently been published by Macmillan. In 2004, Prospect magazine named him one of Britain's 100 most significant public intellectuals.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb study of our wonderful NHS 22 Feb 2005
In this lively and hard-hitting book, Raymond Tallis, Professor of Geriatrics at Manchester University, surveys the current state of British medicine.
He points out how much we all gain from the NHS. Britain is top of nine Western countries in years of life expectancy added for each 1% of GDP spent on health; the USA is ninth. We get 2.5 more years of good health than Americans do. Since 1950, we have gained five extra years of life due to improved medical care under the NHS, and infant mortality has fallen by 80%.
Yet, as Tallis reminds us, much of the media relishes only bad news about health care, fostering a culture of contempt focused on scandal and personalities, and scaremongering to attack the NHS. He cites shoddy reporting by Jeremy Laurance, Melanie Phillips, Anthony Browne, Will Hutton and Simon Heffer.
Tallis analyses the assault on MMR vaccination, started by Dr Andrew Wakefield's article. This was a preliminary study of just twelve children, with no control group, so it could not prove a link with autism, let alone a cause. But Wakefield immediately called a press conference to urge abandoning the triple vaccine. Tallis rightly calls this utterly irresponsible.
The media highlighted Wakefield's claim and ignored further research - two British studies, a Danish study of half a million children, and a Finnish study of 1.8 million children - which proved that there was no more autism among vaccinated children than among non-vaccinated children. The Danish study also found no link between the development of autism and age at vaccination or time since vaccination.
Tallis also criticises Peter Duesberg, who irresponsibly claimed that AIDS was not due to a virus.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent defence of the medical profession 14 Jun 2005
As a student nurse, I approached this book with interest.
Ray Tallis supplies a spirited and well-argued reposte to those who seek to portray doctors as aloof, over-empowered and arrogant. Instead Tallis argues that doctors are often disempowered and assailed by ill-informed pressure groups, a hysterical media and meddling politicians.
In places this leads Tallis to come across as something of a medicalised Grumpy Old Man, but it must be conceded that his points are valid and well-argued. Tallis' account of the recent hysteria over the MMR vaccine is excellent in particular. He relates how a single piece of dubious research led to a major panic, with some shockingly irresponsible and uninformed behaviour by campaigners, journalists and politicians that continued well after any link between the MMR vaccine and autism had been discredited by research.
Having read Hippocratic Oaths, I think I may have to be nicer to my doctor colleagues in future. :)
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential for health professionals 12 April 2006
By busygp
reasoned thoughtful overview of the politics of medicine, essential reading for todays health professionals,puts the stresses of the job in a rational context, and certainly helped me to make sense of the rapidly changing environment we work in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still the best commentary on NHS 3 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dear Dr Tallis - this is in my opinion the best commentary written on modern medicine and the NHS. Part of my duties are acting as a 'clinical supervisor' to ST1s and ST3s. I recommend your book to all of them and keep copies on hand to encourage them. I have also recently taken to showing them some of your other commentaries, in the seemingly futile endeavour to politicise them. May I be so bold as to suggest updating 'Hippocratic Oaths'. It is still the best. Patrick
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