Blacks and American Medical Care

Blacks and American Medical Care

MAX SEHAM
Foreword by John L. S. Holloman
Copyright Date: 1973
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 160
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsd6k
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Blacks and American Medical Care
    Book Description:

    Blacks and American Medical Care was first published in 1974. In a long lifetime of medical practice Dr. Seham, a white physician, has seen at first hand the problems of blacks and medical care in the United States -- the difficulties blacks encounter in getting medical care, in receiving medical training, and in practicing as physicians. Because his own specialty is pediatrics, he has been particularly aware of the problems that are prevalent in the medical care of black children. In this book he describes and documents the black health crisis and makes recommendations for changes which he believes will alleviate existing conditions. Dr. Seham writes: “American medicine has long been a principal victim of our nation’s inverted sense of values. The scientific triumphs of American medicine include the discovery of miracle drugs, the transplantation of organs, and the discovery of new and powerful vaccines, but the portion of the population denied the benefits of these advances consists of many millions. We have allowed military needs to rank far above human needs. The affluent have access to the highest quality of medical care and they know how to get it. The poor and deprived usually get only the crumbs of medical care or none at all.” He points out that racism and poverty are inseparable from the black health crisis and therefore and attack on the problems of health must include an all-out effort to eradicate those two elements -- racism and poverty -- from American society. In conclusion he writes: “I think the case is clear: medical care equality is not only an urgent national need but a moral necessity. The choices this nation makes in the allocation of its resources reflect our system of values. We are indicating our priorities through this allocation, and thus far we have a far from acceptable record in total national health achievements. The mortality, morbidity, and general health statistics of the poverty-stricken, minority groups of our country give evidence of this failure.”

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6442-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. FOREWORD
    (pp. vii-x)
    John L. S. Holloman Jr.

    Max Seham appropriately begins his book with a quotation from Daniel Schorr's Don't Get Sick in America. The dire warning of Schorr's title is one of the themes in Blacks and American Medical Care. Several other related warnings are present too, although they are not always so succinctly stated.

    Don't be uneducated, unskilled, or naive in America because the materialistic system tends to reward those who are most exploitative of nature and of their fellow man. To be uneducated, unskilled, or naive is to risk poverty. Don't be poor because to be poor in America is somehow to be less...

  3. PROLOGUE: THE RUMINATIONS OF A TROUBLED PHYSICIAN
    (pp. xi-xviii)
    M.S.

    This book is a labor of love and was written to satisfy an inner necessity. Writing it has been both a challenge and an adventure. It has been a challenge to my obligation as a doctor. As a practicing pediatrician for more than sixty years, I could not help but feel guilty about our high infant mortality rate that ranks the United States far below many other countries, a condition that has clearly been shown to be due to racial discrimination. Writing this book has also been an exciting adventure, a chance to help in advancing the humanitarian concept of...

  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xix-xx)
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. THE RIGHT TO HEALTH
    (pp. 1-8)

    The right to health for every man, woman, and child was first expounded by Aristotle around 330 B.C. He wrote, "Health of body and mind is so fundamental to the good life, that if we believe men have any personal right at all as human beings, they have an absolute moral right to such a good measure of health as society and society alone is able to give them." This principle was carried out in ancient Greece by appointing state physicians to treat the poor. During the Middle Ages, feudal lords assumed the responsibility for providing medical care (such as...

  7. THE BLACK HEALTH CRISIS: POVERTY AND DISCRIMINATION
    (pp. 9-25)

    Every measure of health we have shows striking differences between the white and nonwhite population, and this gap is becoming a chasm in spite of all the advanced technical resources in our country. Blacks in our country do not live as long as whites; black mothers die in childbirth more often than whites and their babies are more likely to be premature, stillborn, or dead in their first year of life. Blacks visit doctors

    less frequently than whites and when they go to the hospital they are more likely than whites to need a longer stay, which reflects the fact...

  8. HEALTH OF THE BLACK CHILD
    (pp. 26-42)

    It would be comforting if we could view the account quoted above as an historical anecdote, but the story of William Henry is still being repeated today in Chicago, New York, Boston, and poverty areas in other large cities. In the midst of the prosperity enjoyed by a majority of American citizens, over 25 million Americans belong to families with total annual incomes that fall below the poverty level. Of these, 10 million are children below the age of eighteen. An analysis of these figures by race shows that close to 40 per cent (39.6 per cent) of the black...

  9. THE BLACK STUDENT IN MEDICINE
    (pp. 43-67)

    In the United States today, only 2.2 per cent of the doctors are black, whereas over 11 per cent of the population is black.² This state of affairs would seem to demonstrate clear discrimination against black professionals in medicine and, obviously, to call for an immediate and drastic increase in the number of black medical students, subsequently to be black physicians. That this needs to be done is finally becoming widely recognized. However effective this remedy might be, the fact is that increasing the number of black medical students is not a simple matter — largely because of discrimination of...

  10. THE BLACK DOCTOR
    (pp. 68-83)

    The Hatfields and the McCoys, the feuding clans from the hills of West Virginia, are legendary. To Dr. James M. Whittico, Jr., president of the National Medical Association in 1968, they had real significance. His father, Dr. James M. Whittico, Sr., delivered "Mother" Hatfield's fourteenth or fifteenth child. However, Hatfield's son had to tie his father to a tree in order to permit the delivery. "Old Man" Hatfield was enraged when his son returned from town with a black doctor; he did not allow blacks in his house. Yet after a son was delivered, Old Man Hatfield had a change...

  11. MEETING THE CHALLENGE
    (pp. 84-107)

    Having ventured into the diagnosis and prognosis of our medical health crisis, I would be violating the first tenet of my Hippocratic oath if I did not comment on some suggestions for the solution of this critical situation. I am not a sociologist, a medical economist, nor a medical politician speaking in behalf of the vested interests of my profession. But the time has come, and I hope not too late, for every physician in whatever specialty to meet the challenge of the health crisis and remember his oath to serve his fellow man.

    More than ever before there is...

  12. SUMMING UP
    (pp. 108-116)

    American medicine has long been a principal victim of our nation's inverted sense of values. The scientific triumphs of American medicine include the discovery of miracle drugs, the transplantation of organs, and the discovery of new and powerful vaccines, but the portion of the population denied the benefits of these advances consists of many millions. We have allowed military needs to rank far above human needs. The affluent have access to the highest quality of medical care and they know how to get it. The poor and deprived usually get only the crumbs of medical care or none at all....

  13. Notes
    (pp. 119-126)
  14. Index
    (pp. 129-136)