Doctors changed almost beyond recognition during the 20th century. In the early years your doctor was usually a man, with a limited range of medicines and techniques. By the end of the century doctors were as likely to be women as men, with a whole arsenal of pills and treatments to help make you better.
At the beginning of the century local doctors still visited the sick in their homes, usually carrying their sturdy Gladstone bag. Doctors could do little to cure disease, although they had learned some ways of preventing it, and some new techniques of caring for patients.
The modernisation of medicine changed the role of the doctor. Sixty per cent of new doctors are now women. Familiar illnesses, previously dangerous, can often be treated by a course of pills.
Many other diseases now call for the use of expensive technology so, by the end of the century, most medicine was delivered in hospitals (in America in 2002 only 2 per cent of doctor-patient contact took place in the home).
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