The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicineby Bernard Lown, B. Lown
The real crisis in medicine today is not about economics, insurance, or managed care--it's about the loss of the fundamental human relationship between doctor and patient. In this wise and passionate book, one of our most eminent physicians reacquaints us with a classic notion often overlooked in modern medicine: health care with a human face, in which the time-honored art of healing guides doctors in their approach to patient care and their use of medical technology.
Drawing on four decades of practice as a cardiologist and a vast knowledge of literature and medical history, Dr. Lown probes the heart and soul of the doctor-patient relationship. Insightful and accessible to all, The Lost Art of Healing describes how true healers use sympathetic listening and touch to hone their diagnostic skills, how language affects the perception of illness, how doctors and patients can cultivate a relationship of trust, and how patients can obtain the most complete and beneficial care through a combination of healing techniques and conventional practices.
As Dr. Lown explains, the art of healing does not mean abandoning the spectacular advances of modern science, but rather incorporating them into a sensitive, humane, enlightened approach to medical care. With its urgent message and poignant, fascinating vignettes, The Lost Art of Healing is a book of vital, universal importance.
A cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and a co-founder of Physicians Against Nuclear War, Lown has some 45 years of experience in doctor-patient relations. In his view the crisis in health care today isn't about ballooning costs or malpractice suits but about the fact that "medicine has lost its way if not its soul." His central thesis is that the medical profession has been losing its focus on healing, due in part to a romance with high technology. Lown, whose career has encompassed both research and clinical practice, acknowledges wryly that his own cardiological research has facilitated what he most deplores: the advance of technology and with it the depersonalization of medicine. Dr. Samuel A. Levine, Lown's mentor, appears in many of the stories here, for it was he who early on shaped Lown's ideas of what doctoring was all about. Stories featuring Levine demonstrate how the best diagnosticians combine the science of history-taking with the art of listening to the patient, and it is Levine who shows how the words a physician chooses can have a powerful impact on a patient's well-being. Lown, who has passed his 70th birthday, writes with compassion about the challenges of caring for the elderly, and his essay on death and dying should be required reading for all would-be doctors.
Thoughtful essays and thought-provoking stories offering hope that medicine has not yet entirely lost its human face.
- Random House Publishing Group
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- 5.40(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.73(d)
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