medicine Europe

medicine europe


Europe is a continent with many different countries. In the last century, many of these countries have come together to form an economic and political union, called the European Union (EU). This section will describe some of these countries and how they are similar or different from the United States.

History of medicine

  • Ancient Greece
  • Hippocrates and Galen were two of the most influential scientists in ancient Greek medicine.
  • Ancient Rome
  • In ancient Rome, doctors were not paid by the government and people had to pay for their own medical care. As a result, wealthy Roman citizens could afford more expensive treatments, while poor men and women often went untreated.
  • Middle Ages
  • Many monasteries in Europe built hospitals for monks who fell ill and to treat travelers who stopped at the monasteries. Travelers were treated free of charge because it was believed that helping others was God’s work.
  • Renaissance
  • During the Renaissance, many new discoveries and inventions helped to change or improve medical procedures. For instance, Andreas Vesalius (1514–64) found that anatomy books contained errors about human bodies because they used drawings of animals instead of humans!

Practice of medicine

Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery; but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy or acupuncture. Medicine has existed for thousands of years; in the earliest recorded times it was considered a supernatural art that was concerned with the placement of magical spells on persons who were believed to have been taken ill as a result of witchcraft or black magic.

Diseases and public health

  • You may have heard that Europeans are healthier than Americans, but this is not true. In fact, U.S. women and men are expected to live longer than most Western European nations.
  • This is due in part to the diseases Europeans do not vaccinate for that Americans do—rubella and some streptococci are more common in Europe, for example. Vaccines for these diseases were developed before the European Union was established and individual countries’ health care systems evolved differently; more precise coordination could improve vaccination rates across Western Europe.
  • Life expectancy in Europe is 80 years on average compared to 77 years in the U.S., but those numbers don’t tell the entire story: life expectancy between different European countries varies widely.

Health care systems

Most European health care systems are based on a principle of universal coverage and are generally government-funded rather than private. However, there is great variation in the way that care is delivered and paid for, with different countries taking different approaches to organizing their health care systems.

In the United Kingdom, health care is free at the point of delivery, while in Germany, insurance payments cover costs fully. In most other countries, patients are required to make some payment towards their treatment – although exemptions and refunds may be available if you fall below a certain income threshold.

In general, all European health care providers should provide an appropriate standard of emergency treatment regardless of your ability to pay.

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