Essay

A half-century of change

A retired pathologist looks back on 50 years of evolution in medicine and what it means for the future.

Reminiscing about the world of medicine my colleagues and I entered 50 years ago is like flipping through old Life magazines. Not only has everything changed, but the rate of change continues to accelerate. I have seen these changes in my work as a laboratory director at an inner-city teaching hospital, where I have been responsible since the early 1960s for introducing new technologies. I have also been an ambivalent witness to the extraordinary transformation of the landscape in health care delivery.My first clinical laboratory was really an extension of those encountered in college premedical programs. There were guinea pigs, frogs and rabbits for microbiology. Photometers were just replacing the human eye...

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