Symptoms of Unknown Origin: A Medical Odyssey

Symptoms of Unknown Origin: A Medical Odyssey

by Clifton K. Meador M.D.
     
 

ISBN-10: 0826514731

ISBN-13: 9780826514738

Pub. Date: 04/22/2005

Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press


For years after graduating from medical school, Dr. Clifton K. Meador assumed that symptoms of the body, when obviously not imaginary, indicate a disease of the body—something to be treated with drugs, surgery, or other traditional means. But, over several decades, as he saw patients with clear symptoms but no discernable disease, he concluded that his own

Overview


For years after graduating from medical school, Dr. Clifton K. Meador assumed that symptoms of the body, when obviously not imaginary, indicate a disease of the body—something to be treated with drugs, surgery, or other traditional means. But, over several decades, as he saw patients with clear symptoms but no discernable disease, he concluded that his own assumptions were too narrow and, indeed, that the underlying basis for much of clinical medicine was severely limited.

Recounting a series of fascinating case studies, Meador shows in this book how he came to reject a strict adherence to the prevailing biomolecular model of disease and its separation of mind and body. He studied other theories and approaches—George Engel's biopsychosocial model of disease, Michael Balint's study of physicians as pharmacological agents—and adjusted his practice accordingly to treat what he called "nondisease." He had to retool, learn new and more in-depth interviewing and listening techniques, and undergo what Balint termed a "slight but significant change in personality."

In chapters like "The Woman Who Believed She Was a Man" and "The Diarrhea of Agnes," Meador reveals both the considerable harm that can result from wrong diagnoses of nonexistent diseases and the methods he developed to help patients with chronic symptoms not defined by a medical disease. Throughout the book, he recommends subsequent studies to test his observations, and he urges full application of the scientific method to the doctor-patient relationship, pointing out that few objective studies of these all-important interactions have ever been done.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826514738
Publisher:
Vanderbilt University Press
Publication date:
04/22/2005
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii
Introduction ix
Prologue 1
1 An Unlikely Lesson from a Medical Desert 5
2 Texas Heat 15
3 Dr. Drayton Doherty and Miss Cootsie 20
4 All Some Patients Need Is Listening and Talking 27
5 Diagnoses Without Diseases 33
6 The Woman Who Believed She Was a Man 40
7 Mind and Body 49
8 Sweet Thing 55
9 New Clinical Interventions 61
10 Florence's Symptoms 66
11 Symptoms without Disease 81
12 Looking Back on Fairhope 95
13 The Diarrhea of Agnes 102
14 Dr. Jim's Breasts 108
15 The Woman Who Would Not Talk 114
Meador pages.indd 5
16 The Woman Who Could Not Tell
Her Husband Anything 124
17 Staying out of God's Way 133
18 A Paradoxical Approach 142
19 You Can't Be Everybody's Doctor 150
20 In Tune with the Patient 155
Bibliography 165
Index 169

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