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Tom 57 (2017)

Nieprzyjaciele zdrowia, czyli kilka uwag o etosie pracy lekarzy w czasach oświecenia

  • Agnieszka Kobrzycka
12 lipca 2018


Enemies of health. Afew comments about the work ethic of physicians in the Age of Enlightenment

The purpose of this article is to present the portrayal of medics in the literature of Polish Enlightenment. The profession of the medical doctor did not receive acceptance of the society in the 18th century. Medics gained the bad reputation earlier, and writers of Enlightenment continued to incline to beliefs that had arisen in previous centuries. By patients, doctors were viewed as ene­mies of health. The appearance of the barber-surgeon in the house of the sick was considered a har­binger ofdeath. Writers claimed that medicines served by medics might only ruin patients’ health. According to them, the result of the treatment relies solely on acoincidence, not medical skills of the caregiver. In literature, doctors were often accused of ignorance. Writers were ridiculing the prac­tice of using sophisticated, incomprehensible terms while possessing no practical skill and being inefficient. In the 18th century Europe, there were many impostors with no knowledge, who claimed to be medical authorities. Writers condemned those doctors who were enticing their rich clients into believing that they are sick while refusing to help the poor.