Medical Self-Care: Assemble Your Own Medical Kit

For those interested in medical self-care, here are some tips on putting together a basic medical kit.

| July/August 1979

  • Medical Self Care - Tom Ferguson1.jpg
    Dr. Tom Ferguson founded his magazine Medical Self-Care to help people take charge of their health.
    PHOTO: RICHARD ALLEN
  • 058 medical self care - ferguson and rather.jpg
    Dr. Ferguson during a recent interview with Dan Rather.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • Medical Self Care - Tom Ferguson1.jpg
  • 058 medical self care - ferguson and rather.jpg

"What people get trained to do in medical school—and dental school, and other institutions of medical education—is diagnose and treat disease, and a lot of times we tend to call this `health care'. In fact, it's illness care. And I think that one reason self-care is getting to be so popular now—and my magazine (Medical Self-Care) is by no means the equivalent of the self-care movement. It's just a small part of it—is that consumers are starting to see professionally delivered illness care for what it is. And one thing it's not is 'health care'.

"People are beginning to realize this now and they're looking for alternatives. Doctors and consumers alike are beginning to look, for instance, at illness care delivered by lay people, and wellness care delivered by professionals. All of these new ways of looking at what we've been lumping together and calling `health care' are addressed in some way by the idea of self-care, which is simply the notion that the primary health resource in our society is not the physician, but the lay person himself or herself."

Do the above words sound familiar? They certainly should to regular readers of MOTHER EARTH NEWS because such folk have heard 'em before when we first interviewed Tom Ferguson. And those of you fortunate enough to have had that exposure to Tom and his ideas on self-administered, group-supported medical care may remember that—at the time of his interview—the young man from California was completing his formal medical education at Yale and, not so coincidentally, editing an outstanding fledgling publication titled Medical Self-Care: Access to Medical Tools.

Well, Tom Ferguson is now Doctor Tom Ferguson and (wouldn't you know it) the concept of medical self-care itself has become contagious. It seems that more and more people are aware of the ideas pioneered by individuals such as Dr. Keith Sehnert—in his book How to Be Your Own Doctor (Sometimes), $4.95 from Grossest & Dunlap—-and furthered by the likes of Dr. Ferguson.



The word is getting out that the lay person can-in fact, must-learn more about those subjects (like nutrition, body awareness, self-examination, and so forth) heretofore held to be comprehensible only to "the doctor."

Such an education is just plain healthful. MOTHER EARTH NEWS thought so when we introduced our readers to Tom Ferguson. Then, to carry on the "story," we took you all the way to Russia in "A Firsthand Look at Health and Nutrition in the Soviet Union," talked to Dr. Harold Manner, even showed you how-to in certain cases be your own veterinarian, had Dr. Robert Nara give his views on preventive dentistry, and the list goes on and on. 
 
Need we say more? We think so, because starting in this very issue, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is gonna offer—as a regular feature—a piece by Tom Ferguson, M.D., called (what else?) "Medical Self-Care." 
 
Enjoy ... and learn!






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