Learn about the other pandemic that also turned into a diabolical grift

published Dec 07, 2021, last modified Feb 01, 2022

Turns out "the pandemic" isn't the first time widespread corruption was documented around a pandemic.

Learn about the other pandemic that also turned into a diabolical grift

Today you'll learn that systemic medical corruption — brought about by misaligned incentives — is certainly horrific, but it isn't new, nor is it extraordinary.  History shows us how the belief "this couldn't possibly happen" is dangerously wrong.

From a book called Chronicles of Geneva (second tome), pages 395–402, authored by François Bonivard:

When the plague hit Geneva in 1530, everything was ready. They even opened an entire hospital for plague victims. With doctors, paramedics and nurses. Merchants contributed, and the magistrate gave grants every month. Patients always gave money," and if one of them died alone, all the property went to the hospital.

But then a catastrophe happened to the hospital: the plague died out, and subsidies depended on the number of patients.

For the staff of the hospital in Geneva in 1530, there was no talk of right and wrong. If the plague brings in money, then the plague is good. And then the doctors got organized. At first, they only poisoned patients to raise mortality statistics, but they quickly realized that statistics don’t have to be just about mortality, but about plague mortality.

So they began to cut the ulcers from the bodies of the dead, dry them, grind them in a mortar and give them to other patients as medicine. Then they started wiping the dust off their clothes, handkerchiefs and garters. But the plague somehow continued to subside. Apparently, the dried bubbles did not work well.

Doctors went to town and at night spread bubble powder on door handles, choosing those homes where they could then profit. As one eyewitness wrote about these events, "this has remained hidden for some time, but the devil is more concerned with increasing the number of sins than hiding them."

In short, one of the doctors became so cheeky, careless and lazy that he decided not to wander the city at night, but simply threw a bundle of dust into the crowd during the day. The stench rose to the sky and one of the girls, who luckily played out of that hospital recently, discovered what the smell was like.

The doctor was tied up and placed in the good hands of competent “craftsmen”. They tried to get as much information from him as possible.

The execution lasted several days. The "clever" Hippocrates were tied to poles on wagons and carried around the city. At each intersection, the executioners tore off pieces of meat with hot tongs. They were then taken to a public square, beheaded and cut, and the pieces were taken to all the districts of Geneva. The only exception was the son of the director of the hospital, who did not take part in the trial, but muttered that he knew how to make drinks and prepare powder without fear of contamination. His head was simply beheaded "to prevent the spread of evil."

Ahem, doesn't this story sound a bit like "died with COVID instead of COVID" or "hospitals are getting bonus payments for treating COVID patients", or "every government has a secret contract to pay for millions upon millions of injections"?  Yes, fuck yes it does.

One can only wonder if the current grifters will also end up being dealt with in a similar way.  They should at least fear the possibility, if only so they might temper their malevolence and contempt for you.