This section recognizes the shrinking planet phenomenon: anything that happens—humanitarian crises, failed economies, radicalism, emerging infections or health-related catastrophes—elsewhere in the world is no more than 24 hours from our doorstep. Such vocabulary belongs in a dictionary that reflects modern medical practice.
Here, global medicine encompasses the following subsections:
Human rights As defined by the United Nations, substantive human rights include freedom from torture and slavery, freedom of speech and religion and the right to a fair trial. Over the last century, the dictatorships du jour regularly violate their citizens’ human rights, torturing many, and slaughtering the most vocal.
Women’s rights A century after emancipation in developed nations, women still have a tough row to hoe elsewhere. An estimated 630,000 female children are aborted, go missing or are killed each year in India. Worldwide, women may be treated as chattel, fight for an education and, if they make it to adulthood as Muslims, are at risk of honour killings by their own relatives.
Terrorism Only the most naive would argue that terrorism does not have a significant medical component, from psychology (of self-radicalization) to surgery (removing shrapnel from suicide bombing victims) to rehabilitation following amputation.
British medicineWhilst diagnostic and therapeutic medicine differ little between the UK and the US, the socialized single payer, universal coverage model extant in the UK that costs 10% of the British GDP is the polar opposite of the fee-for-service multi-payer system that leaves millions with inadequate health coverage and costs 18% of the American GDP. I’m currently wrapping a subdatabase on British Medicine, which will be out shortly (stay tuned).
Global Village The internet has reduced thousands of kilometers of physical distance to milliseconds. Concerns about the global impact of non-sustainable resources, malnutrition, famine, wars, landmines, ethnic cleansing, use of chemical weapons and a host of other local issues, can now, through social media, trigger responses over the entire planet.
Travel medicine A field of internal medicine that addresses globe-trotting-related issues, in particular to and from regions that may lack basic amenities–e.g., potable water, functioning sewage treatment, transportation.
Tropical medicineThe branch of medicine that deals with diseases unique to the tropics and subtropics, caused by all ilk of organism, from large–e.g., hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale) to small (Plasmodium falciparum) and ranging from those manageable with small guns (public health measures and antimicrobials) to those requiring big guns–e.g., Ebola virus.
Animals Fauna* with which we share the planet usually do so with our blessings as pets, recognizing that some pets–e.g., Burmese pythons, chimpanzees and big cats, are not meant to be pets and when given unscripted parts might ad lib with tragic results.
*This section could have been placed under the previous section, Extrinsic medicine, it made more sense to keep it here because Tropical medicine belongs under Global medicine and most tropical diseases are caused by errant organisms.