The Biomedical Model of Health

Categories: Louis Pasteur

The biomedical design defines health as being devoid of illness and imperfection, and does not take into account social or cultural issues. It is the dominant design used throughout most of western societies, and in these societies is generally seen as the only "legitimate" method to deal with disease.

Among the primary aspects of the biomedical design of health is that it sees the body as a "machine" and that each part of the body can be "repaired individually". This idea began during the Cartesian transformation, called after the French thinker René Descartes.

This revolution motivated the concept that the body and mind are independent, or a minimum of not carefully related. Another major breakthrough of the biomedical design of health was Louis Pasteur's 1850's development of "germ theory". This was the discovery that small micro-organisms or "bacteria" were the cause of disease instead of the product of a disease.

The medical treatment and technology utilized by this model of health is based exclusively on research study and scientific research study.

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It can in some cases take years for a brand-new medication of or piece of medical devices to even pass approval to make it to a trial run. They have very strict requirements to satisfy, and after that once the governing body approves it to go to trial it needs to be thoroughly evaluated.

The very first tests are generally carried out on animals and they will have to show (in some cases numerous times) that they can enhance the condition of certain illness in these animals prior to they will be enabled to start human trials, which starts the whole process again.

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However, all of this rigorous screening truly is advantageous, as it allows the medical professionals to guarantee an extremely high success rate in treatments, or often it will describe failures in the innovation.

Given That the Medical Registration Act was imposed in 1858, medicine has gradually, gradually end up being more professionalised. Prior to this act being introduced there were three main groups of "orthodox medicine". The physicians and cosmetic surgeons held a high status and generally only cured clients of the middle class, and the apothecaries having a lower status and dealing with lower status patients.

After years of campaigning when the act was finally passed, although it did not directly outlaw “unqualified” practices such as homeopathy it did do indirectly by authorising the recently established General Medical Council (GMC) to maintain a register of “suitably qualified” practitioners from which homeopaths were excluded.

The Act further limited medicine’s Therapeutic groups by stopping them from providing their services at a lower cost than the “professionals” on the GMC’s register.

Although the present position of doctor’s power is of relatively high status, the professionalism may currently be under threat from several different sources. First off is the fact that diseases are now more likely to be degenerative as opposed to infectious, which would lead to an increase in the demand for preventative medicine which would cause a transfer of power from doctors to patients and health workers. (1) The 1991 reforms to the National Health Service (NHS) have impacted the medical influence by bringing more managers and administrators to the health service.

The main disadvantage of the biomedical model of health is the fact that it only looks at the biological process of disease and does not take into account the social or emotional issues that can cause illness. For example, if a patient who was a smoker, but also lived close to an oil refinery that produced masses of air pollution, came to a doctor complaining of chest pains, the doctor will advise the patient to quit smoking and will blame the pains on this.

More often than not the doctor will not even enquire about whether there were any other sources that could cause the pain. So the patient will quit smoking but the chest pains may still progress due to the pollution. This blame culture that the doctors impose upon patients can make them feel as though it is their entire fault.

Another flaw of the model is that the medicines and treatments used are mostly curative as opposed to preventative. Straight away this is a disadvantage as it means the patient will have to first suffer through an illness before a doctor will prescribe a medicine or treatment to resolve the issue. Whereas, if they invested more time in preventative methods, they could stop these diseases and illnesses from taking hold in the first place.

In conclusion, while the biomedical model of health does benefit society greatly, with its ability to cure many major and life threatening illnesses, it could be further improved by looking at the social and emotional causes of disease and infirmity. This, from what I have noticed is slowly being introduced into modern medicine, with doctors sometime recommending a patient see a therapist to deal with emotional issues to aid recovery.

Updated: Jul 07, 2022
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The Biomedical Model of Health. (2016, Jul 04). Retrieved from

The Biomedical Model of Health essay
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