How Cesarean Births Became a ‘Global Epidemic’

Reliance on New Obstetric Technology and Lawsuit-Averse Doctors Made Traditional Birth Seem More Risky Than C-Sections

Almost one in three births in the United States today is by cesarean section—a dramatic change from a century ago when physicians avoided the surgery whenever possible. Doctors remained so wary of the surgery’s effects that even in the early 1970s, fewer than one in 20 births was by cesarean section. By 1987, though, cesareans accounted for one in four births in the United States. Since then, the frequency of the surgery has surged worldwide. A recent issue of the medical journal The Lancet condemned this “global epidemic” of unnecessary …

The Women Who Built Mayo Clinic

After a Tornado Wrecked a Minnesota Town, Franciscan Nuns and Physicians, Anesthesiologists and Social Workers Helped Create a Pathbreaking Medical Center

Several years ago, a few colleagues and I discovered a well-kept secret about Mayo Clinic, where we all worked.

We had decided to create a Jeopardy game for Women’s History Month …

The California Corporate Giant You Never Heard Of

Mysterious McKesson, a Massive Health Care Conglomerate, Keeps a Low Profile in the Heart of San Francisco

California is so big that you don’t need to be a mouse to hide here. You can be a giant elephant, and still escape notice.

Californians have little sense of some …

How Hospital Rooms Went from Airy Temples to “Inhuman” Machines

Architecture Used to Pamper Patients. Then Designers Began Prizing Efficiency.

In the March 1942 issue of the journal Modern Hospital, Charles F. Neergaard, a prominent New York City hospital design consultant, published a layout for a hospital inpatient department that …

To End Infectious Disease, We Must Cure Our Societal Ills

Wars, Politics, and the Anti-Vaccine Movement Plague Global Efforts to Stop Epidemics

It once was stated that “man’s weakness is not achieving victories, but in taking advantage of them.” Indeed, this is the case for global infection control. Throughout history we have …

How Medicare Both Salved and Scarred American Health Care

The 52-Year-Old Federal Program's Successes Reflect a Complex Legacy

Before Congress passed Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 millions of elderly Americans lacked health insurance. They could not afford to go to the hospital, nor could they cover the …