The only good thing about the “good old days”

…is that they’re gone.

A commenter, ‘Hairhead,’ on Pharyngula had this to say about science and medicine:

Friend of mine, born in 1942, said that in 1960, he was working his way through university doing landscaping. Somehow he jammed a dirty garden fork into his palm. Couple of days later, the pain was intense and strange white marks were crawling up his forearm. So he goes to the doctor, who prescribes a course of penicillin and tells him to come back in two weeks. Friend goes back, gets clean bill of health, doc sits friend down and tells him the following: “Mel, fifteen years ago, if you had come to me in your condition we’d have had your arm off at the elbow by 7 that night — and at that you’d only have had a 50% chance of living. Don’t talk to me about the ‘good old days’ — you can keep them!” My friend said that was the proof of science which had the greatest impact on him. (He went into botany.)

Of course, in the old days he might have been more aware of the danger of punctures with rusty or dirty tools and would have spent 15 minutes scrubbing the wound and encouraging bleeding instead of shrugging it off.

The graph shows the drop in measles cases in England under different imminization schemes.

disease measles cases before and after immunization in England

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2 Responses to “The only good thing about the “good old days””

  1. S E E Quine Says:

    That’s a really cool story! Really makes you think, actually. It’s tragic that I know two people who refuse vaccines.

    And it’s not because of the autism scare myth, because they don’t even know what autism is! They simply don’t like them because vaccination is ‘unnatural’ and they eschew doctors, even if they have a serious condition!


  2. monado Says:

    Maybe you should show them some of these graphs! I have a whole raft of them from some English health site.

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