In an odd series of events I just noticed the following.
This is the the Rod of Asclepius.
Asclepius was the son of Apollo and was the practicioner of medicine in Greek Mythology. The symbol represents healing.
This is the Caduceus
Thisis a symbol of Greek god Hermes the messenger of the gods, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, shepherds, gamblers, liars and thieves. This represents theft, commerce, deception and death.
Interestingly in the United States, somehow, these two symbols were switched. The end result is that in America, the Caduceus symbol for theft, deception, death and commerce is now the symbol for medicine.
Perhaps even more remarkable is that we're able to trace the source of this confusion. The "patient zero" of symbolic misuse. I present to you...
The U.S. Army Medical Corps Branch Plaque. The 1902 adoption of the caduceus for U.S. Army medical officer uniforms popularized the symbol throughout the medical field in the US.