Good health care is the type of medicine practiced and taught by recognized leaders of the medical profession at a certain period of the social, cultural, and professional development of a particular community or population group.
The criteria on which the basic procedures of medical care are based as regards both the prevention and diagnosis of diseases as well as their treatment are not, however, definitive standards. Medical practice is an art, and as such cannot be standardized, just as the art of writing cannot be standardized. Every writer obeys certain rules of grammar, but each maintains the individuality of its expression; similarly, some basic aspects of up-to-date medical practice are generally accepted, although each physician develops his or her own methods and procedures. Therefore, in the description of services essential to good medical care, only the most widely accepted requirements have been used. Such a definition does not include technical details, which should be sought from appropriate sources: textbooks and journals specializing in medicine, dentistry, nursing and public health.
The concept of good medical care used in this study is based on certain articles of faith, which can be formulated as follows:
“The advances in medicine and the advantages that have resulted from them are the exclusive result of the application of the rational method of observation and experimentation. To control nature we must first of all understand it. And the conception of nature as a kind old wet nurse is no longer sustainable, as is the notion of a wild nature with its tusks and claws dyed red. Still less can we tolerate the painting that paints nature as a generous and abundant mother. If we go to her asking for something in exchange for nothing, far from being generous she will give us as much as we have given her, and to the one who extends the hand of a beggar, she will give him a small alms. Thus, this conception has served for the magician and the sorcerer to think that they can make nature give them everything for their simple charms.1
Adequate medical care requires close coordination among the agencies and institutions responsible for providing medical services. The type of organization required can be illustrated by the case of diphtheria. If immunization against diphtheria is given by a private physician, the physician must report it to the health department for immediate registration. Cases of diphtheria are diagnosed by the physician with the help of the public health laboratory, which in turn provides the serum with which the physician will treat patients. Cases are isolated by the public health department, which also initiates an investigation to discover the source of the infection.