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Aesculapius and Hygeia Models
Robert Frost (1874 -1963), an American poet wrote the following lines:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There are two cults (options) within the traditions of ancient Greece - Aesculapius and Hygeia - which dealt with health care delivery. Aesculapius was a strict patient and health care provider model that was aggressively centered around the patient, whereas Hygeia was a public health model that focused on prevention in the context of public interest. It is clear that American medical care is built on the Aesculpapian model. When one considers our concerns regarding the allocation of health care, is it possible that some of our problems are associated with this choice made over 1,000 years ago? Consider how the debate would be altered had we taken the Hygeia model (option) as the standard of health care provision.
In particular, address each of the following:
What would the health care system look like?
What would be its primary legal, ethical, and moral obligations and why?
What would be among the problems facing this different model of health care?
What lessons, from this model, can you take into your own healthcare practice and/or values and why?