Abraham Verghese: A doctor’s touch

6 10 2011

Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam.

Abraham Verghese: Physician and author

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.”

[ted id=1231]

Ted.com [en línea] Nueva York (USA): ted.com, 6 de octubre de 2011, [ref. septiembre de 2011] Disponible en Internet:

http://www.ted.com/talks/abraham_verghese_a_doctor_s_touch.html


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