Petr Skrabanek: the abominable no-man

Petr Skrabanek (1940–94) was a Czech-born doctor, polemicist and literary scholar. He qualified in medicine in Ireland, and spent most of his career at the Medical School of Trinity College Dublin. He was an outspoken critic of modern medicine, particularly of what he called ‘coercive healthism’. Skrabanek’s sceptical and iconoclastic ideas are more relevant today than ever. This essay aims to rekindle interest in his life and work.

Medical Nemesis 40 years on: the enduring legacy of Ivan Illich

Ivan Illich’s attack on modern medicine, Medical Nemesis, appeared in 1974. The book famously opened with the statement: ‘The medical establishment has become a major threat to health.’ Forty years after its publication, this paper examines the major themes of the book, and asks whether events since its publication have added weight to Illich’s thesis.