Health Care, Circa 1880


And then they have that way, nowadays, of sending you off to a specialist. ‘I can only diagnose your trouble,’ a doctor will tell you, ‘but if you go to see such and such a specialist, he’ll know how to cure it.’ I tell you, the old doctor who could cure you of every illness has all but vanished and you find nothing but specialists these days, and they even advertise in the newspapers.”

The text above is an excerpt from the book I am currently reading. When I came across it I was shocked, since it seems like it could have been written today.

I seem to recall having a family doctor when I was little that my whole family went to for everything, and then over the years the notion of a family doctor seemed to become antiquated, and all my health care today seems to be managed by specialists. I certainly am not complaining about the change, but what intrigues me is that I thought this transition from generalists to specialists just took place in the past 30-40 years.

Apparently I am way off; the excerpt above is from The Brothers Karamazov, which was written in 1880!

I’ve been reading some of the classics this summer, Great Expectations, Crime and Punishment, and now The Brothers Karamazov. One item I have been fascinated with is that the problems the characters faced in those stories, which date back to the mid to late 1800s are many of the same problems we have today.

Problems such as poverty, class struggles, health care, and relationships are central themes of those books, and are still central themes in our lives today.

I guess that’s one of the reasons why such books are considered classics.

I wonder what Dostoevsky would have to say about Obamacare…

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