I'm writing something involving a cure-all device. Essentially it's a panacea. No one who has it gets sick and when you're injured, the healing process is cut in half. I know this would gut the health care system, at least for the affluent, as more and more people thought it pointless to become a doctor or a health scientist unless you're willing to work and live in the slums. Not everyone is on board with this cure-all and the skepticism ranges from fair to adamant, for religious reasons or otherwise. It would have incredible global impact, obviously. The death rate would slow and following that a two-children- per-family act would be enacted. I know I'm missing crucial repercussions and I want to see it from a different perspective.

Edit: It's a device that has to be implanted into the body. Ostensibly there's nothing it can't cure i.e if it detects a cancerous cell it will perform the appropriate measures to kill those. It's not affordable but there are payment plans, most of which span a lifetime. Most people can't afford even the plans, let alone a one time payment.

The drawback, and what's being kept from the general population, is that if you have the device removed you risk exposure to diseases your immune system isn't equipped for, and within a few hours you'd die. How are people not figuring this out for themselves sooner? There are strict laws prohibiting tampering of the device. Do people obey these laws? Of course not. How are they not dropping dead by the millions and alerting everyone to the deeper issue? Still trying to sort that out.


closed as too broad by sphennings, Vylix, L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica, Aify, Sec SE - clear Monica's name Sep 12 '17 at 7:22

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ What happens if there is no timetable for the healing process because you're going to die? I'm thinking terminal cancer, or perhaps a cut femoral artery which, if it receives medical attention, can be remedied, but on its own is a death sentence. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Sep 12 '17 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ Light reading on this subject: fictionpress.com/s/3105064/1/Markets $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 12 '17 at 1:18
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A very similar question was asked a couple weeks ago. Take a look here for further perspectives.

Real effects on the health care system and culture & society at large will depend on how many of these devices are available and where they are available. And of course who controls them.

I don't think it's really feasible to place such technology in the hands of laymen. You're still going to need nurses to triage and specialist doctors to diagnose and prescribe treatment and specialised technical nurses to set up the device and administer the treatment. But a large city could be easily served by perhaps one large clinic with maybe four to six hundred medical professionals on staff (24/7/365).

Overall medical system costs will be driven down, but those remaining in the field would still be well paid --- they still have to be highly trained. Overall medical system infrastructure would be gutted. Ancillary services and industries would fail. All the people who work in those industries would be out of work. All the service industry people who rely on those folks' paychecks will also be hurting.

Eventually all these people would have to find something else to do. Eventually you might end up with a very attractive culture where people don't have to worry about disease & illness --- now you just have to solve the food problem! --- but in the meantime, it's going to be a very bumpy ride indeed!

EDIT: Since the nature of the question has changed, the answer will have to change too! Since the device does all the work, there is now no need for clinics or doctors or techs or nurses of any kind. For those who have the device implanted!

You say most people can't afford even the payment plan. Well, that kind of defeats your whole line of questioning, doesn't it? If 1% of the population (the uberwealthy) can afford it and no one else can, then what you end up with is a large number of wealthy social leaches who live disease free lives. Pretty much what they're doing now, living as they do in upper class strata of society which are generally much cleaner and much more disease free than the lower strata.

In reality, nothing much changes in the broader culture. The devices have only a negligible effect on society, because for the 99%, the health care system will still be needed and will still function as before the introduction of the panaceas.

Once it's in, why would you want it removed? It doesn't make sense to keep the fact hidden from the public. Reason being, they are going to find out the instant something happens. Because the first person to tamper with or remove the device isn't going to be some random homeless man in Ft. Lauderdale that nobody cares about (!). Us Magazine, People, E!, maybe even Ebony (or Ivory? if such a rag is even allowable!) they're all going to be filled with stories with headlines like "World Famous Singer R---a DEAD After Removing Miracle Cure Implant!! --- Shocking True Story Behind the Panacea of the Century!!"

As for why they aren't figuring it out themselves sooner: they don't know how the device works. If the company withholds design facts from their victims -- I mean, customers -- then no one will know going in. I'd put a penny to a pound that even if you made them sign an informed consent, people would still go for this device.

Actually, informed consent laws are what will do in your last paragraph. In the US at least, before any medical device can be implanted within a person, that person has to be fully informed of all intended and unintended results of implantation, including likely death by horrible disease if the device is ever removed.

You can't really pass a law prohibiting the tampering with an implanted device. Unless you're really prepared to police every implanted person 24/7.

So yeah, short answer is marginal effect on the broader society. I do think you need to clarify your setting and focus your question(s) a little more.


You would want to see this question on Politics.SE.

tl;dr Technology always makes other jobs. When you invent something that eliminates a problem, there will be someone who needs to maintain that.

Health industry will be revolutionized

  • you don't need doctor to diagnose your problem, just use this device and it will go away.
  • you will need someone to mass produce this, like a vaccine against all disease. Neat.
  • you will need someone to operate this device.
  • doctors now can spend their time researching the immortality.

Those opposing this 'vaccine' will soon be a laughing stock, similar to what we think about those who oppose vaccine. That is, if your panacea really works without side effects. When time proves it is right, you will start a milestone in human history known as "health revolution".


You still have to make the surgery to implant it correctly, so surgeons are not yet out. The device is too expensive to most, so one has to figure out how to lower its cost. The effect on the health care system may be gradual as a consequence. If the device fails, one has to find it out as quickly as possible to avoid the consequences. In other words, we still have to do extensive research on how to eliminate the dependence effect following the device implant. Maybe, for the time being, the device has created new problems? Doing those research would mean that doctors are still necessary. It is pretty much like inventing the automatic driver for your car: it may, one day, eliminate the need for drivers. However, those who build the device still have to know how to drive if they want to test it and improve it... so basically, you have few points to consider:

1- The device has to be improved. It will take time, both in term of cost, side-effects and performance, so the impact on the healthcare is gradual,

2- Like the automatic driver mentioned, the device cannot do anything beyond what the designers destinated it to do, unless it is in possession of artificial intelligence. In order to cure something, the designers and doctors should be able to cure it first.

3- How grave can an injury be and still not need any medical intervention beyond the device itself? Say, blood loss or vital organs injury. The healing process demands not just energy but food reserves and basic materials: Protein for deep injuries, iron for blood loss, calcium for bone healing. The device cannot heal the bone without fixating the bone in place with some contraption like plaster.


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