We have the ability to ‘cure’ all sorts of ills, but with what quality are people living, and what is the level of care with which we are delivering these services?
by Anne Malatt, Ophthalmologist, Australia
What is the difference between care and cure?
Both words originally came from the same word – isn’t that curious?
The Latin noun ‘cura’, meaning ‘care’, became the verb ‘curare’, meaning ‘take care of’ and then the Old French ‘curer’, meaning ‘cure’.
The original sense of the word was ‘care, concern, responsibility’, particularly in a spiritual sense, but in late Middle English the meanings ‘medical care’ and ‘successful medical treatment’ arose, and hence ‘remedy’.
Interestingly, curare is also a type of poison, as are many medical treatments, when not used according to directions (and sometimes even when they are!).
Modern medicines are powerful, and sometimes a helpful treatment can become a harmful poison, especially if the dose is too high. Paracetamol is a great painkiller, but it can also kill liver cells, if taken in excess. Chemotherapy drugs are…
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