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National Medical Establishment — Why Now?
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National Medical Establishment

Front of Union Bank of Switzerland building

Army Medical Branch insignia, EMT Star of Life, AF Med Tech badge

The top picture is the entrance to the headquarters of UBS, which once stood for the Union Bank of Switzerland. Above the door is a bust of Hermes flanked by two carvings of his herald’s staff, the Caduceus. All very logical, as Hermes was the Greek god of commerce, as well as the messenger/herald of the gods of Olympus to men.

The group of symbols below that, from left to right, are the branch insignia of the Army Medical Corps, the “Star of Life” used by EMTs, and the Air Force Medical Technicians badge. You will note that the Army uses the Caduceus as a symbol, while the EMTs and Air Force use the similar Rod of Asclepius, which is the symbol of the Greek founder of medicine.

The Army began using the Caduceus in the early 19th century as a symbol of the non-combatant and neutral status of the medical personnel on the battlefield, i.e. they were like heralds. This was before the Red Cross was established [Clara Barton didn’t get the American Red Cross established until 1881] and the use of the Red Cross for essentially the same purpose as the Caduceus.

Hermes was also the patron of thieves, liars, and the escort of the dead to the Underworld, so the Caduceus is a suitable symbol for the NME – it’s all about the money, and they will lie and cheat to get it while leaving a lot of people dead.


1 Steve Bates { 08.23.09 at 10:42 pm }

In healthcare reform, as in any battle, it is important to know your NME.
.-= last blog ..Friday Cell Phone Cat Blogging =-.

2 Bryan { 08.23.09 at 10:47 pm }

Exactly. 😉

[OK, so it was a pretty elaborate set up for one bad pun, but it’s Sunday.]