In the recently completed work entitled “The Crisis in Medicine and the Rise of the Reflective Physician“, a comprehensive account of the serious problems of health care and suggested solutions are discussed. In this current version, “Doctors and Patients – All You Wanted to Know and More“, the topics discussed are directed primarily at the interested lay person. In order to gain an overview of the argument, one can read the chapter headings, the subheadings, the first line of each paragraph and the sections highlighted. Is it yet another diatribe against the role of science in medicine? It is not.
I have a deep respect for its magnificent achievements. Medicine rode to fame on the coat-tails of science during the 19th and 20th centuries. More recently, the public images of both have become somewhat tarnished. Yet there have been some brilliant medical scientific advances, such as the use of autopsies to locate diseases in specific body tissues, the design of scopes to examine the heart and to peer into every body cavity and orifice, the identification of the quid divinum causing infectious disease – bacteria – and anaesthesia, surgery, and childbirth becoming safer. Doctors have reaped rewards in the form of social prestige and formidable political clout. Nevertheless, hardly any scientific medicine had come into full flower until after World War II. Then there were signs of a backlash. Why then has medicine fallen from its former grace?