I was told by a respected Teacher of Medicine at Glasgow University, a Patient of mine, how he felt that Modern Medicine had lost it’s sense of Physical Examination and Palpation. That Medicine was now dissociated from the Person(Patient) and relied on Biochemisrty and MRI investigation – Which removes the powers of Diagnosis from the Doctor. Dr. Verghese goes on to explain this…
Before he finished medical school, Abraham Verghese spent a year on the other end of the medical pecking order, as a hospital orderly. Moving unseen through the wards, he saw the patients with new eyes, as human beings rather than collections of illnesses. The experience has informed his work as a doctor — and as a writer. “Imagining the Patient’s Experience” was the motto of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics, which he founded at the University of Texas San Antonio, where he brought a deep-seated empathy. He’s now a professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford, where his old-fashioned weekly rounds have inspired a new initiative, the Stanford 25, teaching 25 fundamental physical exam skills and their diagnostic benefits to interns.
He’s also a best-selling writer, with two memoirs and a recent novel, Cutting for Stone, a moving story of two Ethiopian brothers bound by medicine and betrayal.
He says: “I still find the best way to understand a hospitalized patient is not by staring at the computer screen but by going to see the patient; it’s only at the bedside that I can figure out what is important.”
“Art and medicine may seem disparate worlds, but Dr. Verghese insists that for him they are one. Doctors and writers are both collectors of stories.”
New York Times