Today, the primary emphasis in human medicine is on how individuals identified, interpreted, and treated medical disorders.This emphasis is situated in the context of a medical marketplace composed of a variety of medical items and healers. …
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For numerous historians, this emphasis is situated in the context of a medical marketplace composed of a variety of medical items and healers. The medical marketplace model has ever since governed the field of the history of medicine. Harold Cook coined the term ‘medical marketplace’ to describe English medicine during the 17the century.This model involves the long-established tripartite differentiation of physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries, plus different kinds of quacks, herbalists, faith healers, midwives, and other less definite or ‘qualified’ healers. However, the medical marketplace model has also been criticized in various medical fields. This essay analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the medical marketplace model as an approach to the history of medicine. The Medical Marketplace Model Drawing on the assumption that ailing individuals have the capacity to make consumer decisions and are rational, numerous historians have expanded the history of medicine to encompass all forms of medical marketplace throughout the history of medicine. Thus, the history of the whole range of casual quacks and healers, of commercial products, and family prescriptions for different illnesses has become accepted and popular medical history. Historians have been particularly interested in being able to recreate the massive array of options or alternatives available to consumers of medical products and/or services. Over the recent decades, historians have given a great deal of attention to the hierarchy or division of medical professionals and in the knowledge, understanding, and experiences of patients. As an outcome of this wider approach, historians became adept at characterising the delivery of medical products/services in early modern North America and Europe as a medical marketplace.4 Furthermore, this tendency to adopt the medical marketplace model has also been observed among historians focused on the histories of ‘folk medicine’. In general, how the patients responded or did not respond to their sickness offered a measure of the degree to which the medicalisation processes progressed or regressed throughout time.5 Historians in the 1970s and 1980s were predisposed to situate medical professionals at the limelight in the medical marketplace of the past centuries, endowing early modern physicians an antiquated critical role in the delivery of medical services. More distinguishing attribute of later studies is the transition from physician-oriented academic interest to a more inclusive paradigm of the different sources of medical products/services provided.6 Past studies drew largely on the number of medical professionals as a measure of what several historians considered as ‘poor’ performance of healers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, revealing the exaggeration of the value of physicians, who in reality were an outnumbered group among medical practitioners.7 Basically, the medical marketplace model demonstrates that insistent and educated or well-informed patients, or consumers, bought medical products/services as commodities in a disorganised, independent, and unchecked medical system. From the 18th to the 19th century, no ethical codes specific to the field of medicine presided over the relationship between health care providers and patients in early modern North America and Europe.8 Even though highly educated medical professionals produced essays on issues that are currently classified within the domain of medical ethics, the daily interactions between the ill and healers were influenced by two categories of broader social rules: (1) the system of the delivery of medical services during the early modern period has been associated with
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