Zé Arigó: Psychic Surgery with a Rusty Knife

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According to a poll conducted by the British Medical Journal in 2007, sanitation is the greatest medical milestone of the past 150 years. Readers of the respected journal chose sanitation over 14 other short-listed medical milestones such as the development of vaccines, the contraceptive pill, antibiotics and anaesthesia.

In Sanitation rated the greatest medical advance in 150 years, published in The Guardian on 19 January 2007, Johan Mackenbach of Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, responded to the poll saying: “I’m delighted that sanitation is recognised by so many people as such an important milestone. The general lesson, which still holds, is that passive protection against health hazards is often the best way to improve population health.”

Try telling that to the hundreds of thousands of Brazilians who claim to have been cured by Zé Arigó – the psychic surgeon of the rusty knife whose sanitation procedures where limited to a quick wipe of his rusty knife on his shirt before hastily proceeding to his next patient….

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