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Health and History

Michael Robertson, Edwina Light, Wendy Lipworth, Garry Walter
In this paper we survey briefly the components of the Holocaust directly relevant to the psychiatric profession and identify the main themes of relevance to contemporary psychiatry. The ‘euthanasia’ program; the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) citizens; and the complex relationship between the psychiatric profession and Nazi state are the main themes to emerge from this survey. We then compare this period with key themes in the history of Australian psychiatry and link these themes to some of the contemporary ethical challenges the profession faces...
2016: Health and History
Colin Tatz
In 1949, federal parliamentarians were indignant when asked to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (hereafter, UNGC). We could not in any way be associated with ‘the unthinkable’ crime, senior members claimed, because we are ‘a moral people’ with a ‘clean record'. This essay assesses the ‘decent’ Australian democrats who, as the indelible records show, set out to kill the Aboriginal people they deemed ‘vermin’ and then later, decided to engage in a eugenicist fantasy to rid Australia of Aborigines by intermarriage or, failing that, forcibly removing their children in large numbers...
2016: Health and History
Colin A Holmes, Margaret McAllister, Andrew Crowther
Nurses actively killed people in Nazi Europe between 1939 and 1945. The so-called ‘science of eugenics’ underpinned Nazi ideology, used to further the Nazi racist agenda. Edicts sanctioned selection and medically supervised killing of people, and nurses, principally in mental hospitals, participated in the killing of between 100–300 thousand patients. Erroneously termed ‘euthanasia', there were three phases: the initial programme involving children, the T4 adult programme, and ‘wild euthanasia'. Unofficial killings also took place before 1939...
2016: Health and History
Robert M Kaplan
The extensive degree of mass murder that occurred throughout the twentieth century saw the rate of non-combatant (civilian) deaths rise by over seventy-five percent in the space of seventy years, amounting to a death toll exceeding 170 million. Where genocides are concerned, the central role of doctors is undeniable. Their participation arose from the preoccupation with eugenics for improving the health of the nation. From here, their belief in nationalism overrode the sacred duty to save lives. These doctors descended into moral anarchy, breaching an ethical code of two millennia...
2016: Health and History
Ellen Ben-Sefer, Linda Shields
The Warsaw Ghetto was a place where Jews were kept until deportation to Nazi death camps. It contained a nursing school, run by Luba Bielicka-Blum. We explore the contribution of Luba Bielicka-Blum to nursing and specifically, the nursing school of the Warsaw Ghetto by using primary sources of Bielicka-Blum's daughter's archive held by Yad Veshem, supported by secondary sources. We conclude that, despite extreme hardship and abject horror, the nursing school in the Warsaw Ghetto continued to provide the highest level of nursing education possible...
2016: Health and History
Garry Walter
Fifty years ago, erstwhile eminent Jewish physician Dr Otto Walter abandoned life in Australia to return to Austria, leaving his crestfallen young grandson, Garry, to wonder why he had gone. In this paper, the author explores the possible reasons for his grandfather's departure, weaving in aspects of Otto's extraordinary life, including the flight from Vienna after Kristallnacht (the German Reich's coordinated night of attacks on Jewish property), and the struggles to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in Europe...
2016: Health and History
Michael Robertson, Kirril Shields, Linda Shields
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2016: Health and History
Warwick Anderson
Professor Jacques F.P. Miller spoke about his career in immunology with Warwick Anderson on 3 February 2014. Born in Nice, France, Miller attended high school and medical school in Sydney, Australia. As a Ph.D. student and postgraduate researcher in London, Miller discovered the immunological function of the thymus gland. Spending the rest of his career at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne, Miller conducted pioneering research in lymphocyte population dynamics and the mechanisms of the human immune response...
2016: Health and History
Kenneth J Young, Barclay W Bakkum, Lawrence Siordia
Chiropractic first adopted the X-ray in 1910 for the purpose of demonstrating tiny misalignments of spinal bones, theorised to cause all disease, which they called chiropractic subluxations. This paper explores the apparent contradiction and resultant controversy of a system of natural healing adopting a medical technology. It centres on the actions of B.J. Palmer, the first chiropractor to use X-rays. It also clarifies details of Palmer's decision to incorporate the technology and interprets the change in the sociological context of boundary work...
2016: Health and History
John Grundy, Elizabeth Hoban, Steven Allender
Since 1975, Cambodia has transitioned through three distinct political periods of totalitarian, centralist, and neo liberal rule. In order to understand the challenges these political reforms present for health systems and policies, this case study charts events in health policy and political history in Cambodia between 1975 and 2014. Findings illustrate the interconnections of health and history, the balancing of tradition and modernity in health management and medical practice, and the shift in policy positions in response to political and economic reform...
2016: Health and History
Julia Wells
The close connections between colonialism and tropical medicine have been widely discussed by historians over the last fifty years. However, few authors consider the relationship between tropical medicine and European and North American imperialism in the immediate post-World War II period. This article examines the Fourth International Congresses on Tropical Medicine and Malaria, held jointly in Washington in 1948. Using the research presented during the conference, it questions to what degree the specialisation had changed in the postwar period...
2016: Health and History
David Henderson, Christine Bigby
This article is concerned with exploring the historical development of Reinforce, the oldest self-advocacy organisation for people with intellectual disability in Victoria. In particular, it considers how governmental indifference, as well as ad hoc funding and support, has hindered the growth of the organisation and, more generally, the growth of the self-advocacy movement in Victoria. By obtaining a deeper understanding of the input from the policy makers, professionals, and supporters working in the field of intellectual disability, we can begin to comprehend some of the reasons for the comparatively slow development of self-advocacy in this country...
2016: Health and History
Ian Willis
The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 was met with much jingoistic enthusiasm by the Australian population. Men volunteered in their hundreds for service for God, King, and Country; to defend the Empire; for adventure; and to see the world. Women on the homefront formed up Red Cross branches across the country in small country towns and city suburbs to serve ‘their boys’. Unfortunately for the men who enlisted their desire to serve the Empire was not met with a similar level of organisational efficiency by authorities in Australia...
2016: Health and History
Jim Berryman
When the Red Cross opened its new convalescent home at Russell Lea in Sydney in 1919, it contained a coloured room designed for treating ‘nerve cases’. This room was painted by Roy de Maistre, a young artist, and was modelled on the Kemp Prossor colour scheme trialled at the McCaul Convalescent Hospital in London for the treatment of shell shock. Dubbed the ‘colour cure’ by the popular press, this unconventional treatment was ignored by the Australian medical profession. The story of de Maistre's colour experiment is not widely known outside the specialist field of Australian art history...
2016: Health and History
Lindsay R Watson
'Congenital phimosis' was one of a number of pseudo-pathologies that entered mainstream medicine in the nineteenth century. In the twentieth century Truby King, Henry Jellett, and Eric Corkill advocated premature foreskin retraction as the first intervention to manage 'congenital phimosis'. If that failed they recommended circumcision, although eventually it became more expedient to use circumcision exclusively. The nineteenth-century justification for such interventions was to prevent masturbation, but by the middle of the twentieth century this was replaced by prevention of infections...
2014: Health and History
Rhonda Chang
It is commonly assumed that contemporary Chinese Medicine has an ancient lineage and its practice can be related in a straightforward way to medicine practiced in China for thousands of years. In this article, I argue that this impression is mistaken. What we currently call traditional Chinese Medicine is only sixty years old and it does not share the same theoretical principles to the ancient medicine of China (referred to as yi). Both yi and contemporary Chinese medicine practices use herbs and acupuncture methods, but yi is based on the principles of yinyang, wuxing whereas contemporary Chinese medicine is fundamentally based on western anatomical understandings of the body and disease, and notably, the two practices create different healing outcomes...
2014: Health and History
Robert M Kaplan
The first Royal Commission into the activities of a psychiatrist took place in Melbourne in 1924, inquiring into misconduct by Dr Reg Ellery at Kew Hospital. Ellery, appalled by the conditions at the Idiot Cottages, had attempted to make improvements for the children. This led to a confrontation with the Attendant's Union--who had been challenging the power of doctors to run the asylums--which met with an unexpected change in Victorian state politics to lead to the establishment of the Royal Commission. Though Ellery was in the end exonerated, his subsequent treatment by the Lunacy Department was slightly insulting, featuring a transfer to another hospital...
2014: Health and History
Beris Penrose
In the twentieth century medical experts reversed their opinion on whether exposure to cement dust was hazardous. Today it is associated with bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis, and lung cancer. Yet, up to the 1970s experts maintained that the dust was harmless. Being exposed on a daily basis, workers and their unions were in a unique position see the effects of cement dust and frequently raised concerns. However, lay knowledge, no matter how accurate it later proved to be, was ignored by those in authority...
2014: Health and History
Geoffrey Gray
In 1939 an Australian anthropologist, W.E.H Stanner, believed that the nation needed to examine the question of biological and cultural preservation of the Aboriginal peoples. In an attempt to address the issue a range of proposals were suggested, most concentrating on the provision of adequate nutrition, proper medical supervision, good conditions of employment, appropriately trained field staff with sufficient financial resources, and the creation of inviolable reserves. This paper is a case study of a northwest Northern Territory cattle station, Wave Hill, where a survey conducted by two anthropologists aimed to reveal the causes of population decline on Vestey owned cattle stations...
2014: Health and History
Robin Kearns
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2012: Health and History
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