A Discussion at Research Gate on Medicine and Morality….
Historically, pivotal changes in the practice of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, or nursing have occurred in response to the misery of the human condition. Health conditions such as the Black Plague, the polio epidemic, HIV/AIDS, and war are examples of how human suffering that affected large populations spurred advances in infection control, immunization, pharmacologic therapies, and survival after life-threatening injury.
When poverty or cruelty finally rises to the level of social awareness, political action is taken through Acts of the U.S. Congress. The 1935 Social Security Act, 1946 Mental Health Act, 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Medicare Act, 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and the 2010 Affordable Care Act are the moments in history when human suffering rose to a level of social consciousness that there was political action. (Source: NIH Almanac Legislative Chronology http://www.nih.gov/about/almanac/historical/legislative_chronology.htm)