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"Aesculapius Asclepius Esculapius Esculapio Asclepios Asklepios " (details from "History of Medicine Mosaic") (see related A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J), 1960 Conrad A. Albrizio (1894-1973) University Hospital, Mobile, Alabama, USA

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This is a detail and central element of one of the most important and remarkable mosaics presenting emblems of the History of Medicine (see the notes and full scope of the mosaic by clicking on the links shown above). 

Here is illustrated the central emblem of Medicine - Asculepius. At his feet is a temple-hospital - he holds a simple medical staff supporting a single snake as a symbol that truth is one as well as of wisdom and rejuvenation and truth  - in contrast, Hermes or Mercury is represented holding a fancy staff of gold with two snakes called caduceus. As a protector of thieves and mercenary merchants, Mercury is also the emblem of "for profit corporations" who to maximize profits, ration services deliver their "clients" (not patients)  by employing "professionals" who do not have M.D. degrees. 

The caduceus implies that "consumers" must be aware of "caviat emptor" - commercialized "health care" is not equal to "medical care" nor is a "clients" equivalent to a "patient". Medicine upholds a code of ethics that is the oldest in existence. It is arguable relevant to note that when Aesculapius sold his services for gold he was incinerated by Zeus. 

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