Medical practice and care were different beasts in 1966. Medicare was brand new, created July 30, 1965, not yet fully rolled out and controversial, largely due to the stigma of socialized medicine. (The American Medical Association unrelentingly opposed it!) Health insurance, where and for whom it existed, was primarily hospitalization insurance, with few benefits in the doctor’s office and little coverage for preventive services.
The US Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking (an achievement of Alabama native Dr. Luther Terry and unendorsed by the AMA for 14 years) was hot off the press from its 1964 release, and 50 percent of men, 32 percent of women and a lot of doctors in the US smoked.
There was no Nicorette, H-1 blockers or PPIs, no ACE inhibitors, statins or human insulin. The only beta agonists were epinephrine and isoproterenol, which, along with theophylline, were (risky) mainstays of asthma treatment, absent inhalable steroids. There were no lithotripters, MRIs or balloon catheters. Hepatitis C was still “non-A, non-B Hepatitis,” and the first CABG was yet to be performed.