Dr. Norman Bethune, Communist and public health activist, hero of the Spanish Civil War and Chinese Revolution, born March 4, 1890 in Gravenhurst, Ontario. We honour him by republishing his 1936 address in favour of socialized medicine Medical Care and Modern Society.
Norman Bethune Mural by Avrom Yanovsky
In our highly-geared, modern industrial society there is no such thing as private health -- all health is public. The illness and maladjustments of one unit of the mass affects all other members. The protection of the people's health should be recognized by the Government as its primary obligation and duty to its citizens. Socialized medicine and the abolition or restriction of private practice would appear to be the realistic solution of the problem. Let us take the profit, the private economic profit, out of medicine, and purify our profession of rapacious individuals. Let us make it disgraceful to enrich ourselves at the expense of the miseries of our fellow man. Let us organize ourselves so that we can no longer be exploited as we are being exploited by our politicians. Let us re-define medical ethics -- not as a code of professional etiquette between doctors, but as a code of fundamental morality and justice between medicine and the people. - Dr. Norman Bethune, Communist and public health activist, hero of the Spanish Civil War and Chinese Revolution, born March 4, 1890 in Gravenhurst, Ontario.