HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, August 23, 2012

For the beginning of the semester

Having just completed the first week of classes, I am enjoying the energy that the return of students brings to the building.  But, I am also remembering how hard it is to introduce students to the healthcare system (non-system, really).  For those who also feel challenged by the introductory phase of health law classes, here's something that may help: the New England Journal of Medicine has posted a 45 minute documentary entitled Getting Better regarding the ways in which the American healthcare system has changed over the last 200 years.  NEJM's description: 

Getting Better is a 45-minute documentary video that tells three remarkable stories of medical progress — in surgery, leukemia, and HIV/AIDS. Atul Gawande, Vincent DeVita,
Tony Fauci, Paul Farmer, and other prominent experts explore research, clinical
practice, and patient care, and how health care has continued to get better
over the past 200 years.

The first third of the video, narrated by Dr. Atul Gawande, is a particularly nice snapshot of the sea changes in medicine and surgery that have occurred within the last 200 years.  Publication of scientific findings probably plays a larger role in the story line than is necessary, but it is good to be reminded of the advances that have occurred so recently and that were true game changers (such as aseptic surgery).  


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