Peter Reeg preforms surgery and talks about how medicine and politics are interwoven and inseparable from each other.

Click here for a subtitled version.

Dr. Peter Reeg talks about the intertwined nature of politics and medicine. Photo by Stuart Holt

The Most Interesting Person Project is a series of interviews in which each person interviewed gives the name of the person they think is the most interesting person they know. That person then gets interviewed, starting the cycle over.

I’ve also included a short interview with the filmmaker.

Dr. Peter Reeg says that medicine and politics cannot be separated. Many nations around the world are dealing with this sort of “integration.” What suggestions, if any, did he offer during the interview?

Prof. Reeg argues that the current healthcare system is not designed to create a healthier population and clearly if people were healthier we wouldn’t need to spend so much money on making them better.

At a speech given by Peter Reeg at the premier of Most Interesting Person, in Berlin in 2010, Reeg argued that drug and healthcare companies earn their money by developing new drugs to make people better, rather then stopping people from getting ill in the first place. It is not in their commercial interest to invest in care that would prevent patients from needing their product. Yet, while some people do become ill because of bacterial or genetic defect, more often, the root of illness stems from the stress of financial worry, the context of unemployment, the unhealthy life style often associated to poor education, low income and substandard work environments.

He went on to say;
“Medical professionals are not trained to engage with the issues they might use to encourage their patients to avoid illness. We have to do scientific research on the question, What keeps people healthy? But this research is very very rare. For this we need a new medical paradigm, a desirable, holistic approach to medicine.”

He went on to describe some of the specific scenarios such a shift would involve. Such as restricting drug development to areas that significantly improve healthcare and social fund for healthcare living outside commercial forces.

You mentioned in the write-up that this interview changed how you look at the world “more than slightly.” How did your view change?

There is nothing soothing about seeing a man saw into bone of a living person, which I witness after I was invited to film Reeg during surgery of a hip replacement. Reegs job requires strength, not in the sense of will power, but brute force. It looks violent. He wields tools, drills, saws, clamps and things that look like they come from a mad Victorian dentists attic. I couldn’t believe that this was the same Reeg who sat with me for the interview a few days earlier and it opened my eyes to what people do to help others.

Video created by Stuart Holt