Limits to Medicine: Re-visiting Ivan Illich By JOANNA MONCRIEFF, MD

Limits to Medicine put my unease into words. Written as part of a broader critique of industrialised society and its institutions, Illich’s basic thesis is that technological hubris has led us to forget the limits of the human condition. We have come to believe that technology can eradicate all human suffering and provide unblemished and everlasting happiness. We have paid for this irrational expectation with our autonomy, our dignity and our ability to endure.

Difficult as this is to write as a doctor, there is something inherently degrading about medicine. After all, it involves allowing someone else to interfere with your body, your own personal, physical self.

Submitting yourself to medicine now requires the wholesale signing away of your bodily integrity.