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Journal Article 
Defensive medicine: two historical cases 
Lascaratos, J; Dalla-Vorgia, P; , 
International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine
ISSN: 0924-6479
EISSN: 1878-6847 
Two characteristic historical examples of defensive medicine are referred to and analysed. The first of them relates to the behaviour of the eminent and experienced physician Critobulus, a member of the family of Asclepiades of Cos Island, native island of Hippocrates, who hesitated to undertake the operation on the severely wounded Alexander the Great, who was hurt during the siege of a town of the Mallians in India (326 BC). The second case refers to the Byzantine Emperor, Justin II (578 AD), when his physicians hesitated to undertake an operation for a possible wedging of a stone in the urethra, which caused painful inflammation. In both cases, the physicians proceeded to the operation after being reassured by their illustrious patients that they would not be punished in the event of failure. Furthermore, in the second case, of the mentally unbalanced Justin II, the physicians requested, obviously in the presence of witnesses, their immunity from punishment with the symbolic gesture of the handing over of the scalpel to them by the patient. This act symbolised the agreement of the patient to the operation.