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Deutsch, F. (1951). New Discoveries in Medicine. Their Effect on the Public Health: By Paul R. Hawley, M.D. New York: Columbia University Press, 1950. 134 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 20:632-632.

(1951). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 20:632-632

New Discoveries in Medicine. Their Effect on the Public Health: By Paul R. Hawley, M.D. New York: Columbia University Press, 1950. 134 pp.

Review by:
Felix Deutsch

In this little book the author takes 'a generous helping of a few delicacies' from the field of medicine and serves them in six lectures to an audience interested in the influence of new discoveries in medicine upon public health. Of these lectures, only Modern Prevention and Treatment of Mental Disease is of interest to readers of this journal.

In this chapter the author tries to cover the development of the treatment of mental diseases from Bedlam to thalamotomy. The author is of the opinion that psychiatry is to a certain degree an inexact science. He views the psychoneuroses and psychosomatic disorders particularly from the point of view of expense. The waste of money for their treatment and the shortage of psychiatric beds are indications to him of the need for national health insurance. He states with satisfaction that the recent, more intensive treatment of psychiatric patients has finally achieved a balance between the number of patients admitted and discharged from Veterans Administration Hospitals: 'approximately seventy-five percent of all new cases are discharged in good condition by the end of three months'.

It is worth while quoting what the author has to say about psychoanalysis. 'Like many other worthy techniques, its reputation has suffered through exploitation by incompetent and unscrupulous charlatans. In certain circles, made up of people with more money than brains, to be psychoanalyzed has become a mark of social distinction. Fashionable poseurs, some of whom have never had any medical training whatsoever, are plucking these shallow-brained geese for all the traffic will bear. In this racket, a foreign name and a foreign origin seem to be tangible assets of great value.'

To the nonmedical reader all chapters of this well-written book will be of interest.

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