Healthcare: Plato's View Versus Modern Western Society

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Healthcare: Plato’s View Versus Modern Western Society People in today’s society have an immense number of expectations in regards to their quality of life. Perhaps the most prevalent is the expectation to the healthcare they choose. On the surface, it seems pretty clear cut. After all, why shouldn’t the individual patient be allowed to make choices that directly, or even indirectly, effect their general health? The waters become murky, however, when one takes into account the amount of resources allocated to providing some services or procedures to certain patients. In Plato’s argument, he asserts that essentially, healthcare should be served in a manner that reflects the interests of the greater good. At what point does the greater good become more important than an individual though? Dr. Craig Wax asserts that in Plato’s society “physicians responded to the needs of the state by devoting resources to the workers, in the process ignoring the elderly, very young, critically ill, and those who were considered genetically inferior. Such practices can lead to vile immorality and atrocities.” By all accounts, empathy is one of the most important qualities in a humane society. To do away with empathy, much like in the case of Plato’s society, is to turn society into a collective of cold, calculating zombies. Dr. Wax summates Plato’s point of view by saying “the contradiction of public health “greater good” out-competes the needs of each individual.” Following this train of thought, any, or at least most forms socialized or state-run healthcare is counterproductive to the needs of the patient. Society puts certain standards in place for doctors. We make them go through ten years of school and gain an extensive knowledge of the medical field by way of interning and on the job experience. We expect them to attend conferences, and study well after they graduate medical

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