Friday, March 2, 2012

Thoughts on the "lost" art of medicine.

I've been scanning the medical media for many years now looking for articles that I think might be of interest, and recently there's been something gnawing away at the back of my mind and I haven't been able to put my finger on it until today.

More and more of the information that we read is pure science, or "meta analyses" of previously released information, but analyzed under an even finer tooth comb. Thus, the pure science research coming out from the Lab tantalizes us with the promise of things to come in the next 10, 20 or 30 years: and the analyzers tell us such things as "Statins" might increase the risk of diabetes in women" and many other reports that promote interesting theories and trends - but at the same time can raise the level of anxiety too.

But when I sit with the dementing patient who is taking the requisite medications and tell them that this is the best we can do, apart from taking daily exercise: or when I listen to the middle aged, single, working Mum with 3 teenagers to "muster", and who is overweight with borderline diabetes and tell her that she needs to get out and exercise and eat healthy food - which her kids "hate": then I wonder where the scientists and meta-"analyzers" are?

I rejoice in the work that the scientists are doing, and it's great for the standard of medicine that we now have Cochrane reviews that provide measured suggestions as to what is current "best practice" for medical practitioners. BUT, have we forgotten the individual patient and how to apply this information to them? Each one of us is unique and hears different aspects of the information being supplied. This is the art of medicine - the hallmark of which is compassion - and perhaps something that is being neglected in our current "Age of Information".
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1 comment:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Today it seems doctors are in such a rush to get through the many many people that need to see them. I can understand when they just don't have time to get to know their patient well enough to custom fit treatment. I come from a generation that remembers house calls and the doctor sitting down for a cup of tea and a chat. Medicine may have improved but the human touch is, while not entirely missing, rare.