An updated guidebook to the finer nuances of patient care.
Physician Meador (Fascinomas, 2013, etc.) offers a new, modernized edition of his book of medical maxims, which was first published in 1992. Its core intent is to remind “medical students, residents and physicians in primary care” that their focus should be on “treating a person, not a disease.” The recommendations in it are derived from the teachings of early 1900s Canadian physician and educator William Osler, which focus on the benefits of personally and attentively interacting with patients. Since the first edition of this book, Meador says, an emphasis on patient volume, unnecessary screening tests, and increasingly complex division of health care has had the effect of further “separating the physician from the patient,” and he frames this new edition as a sort of refresher course. He delivers sage wisdom through small, declarative dictums, which are potent enough to stand on their own without exposition or explanation. For instance, the book begins with the basic tenets of doctor-patient eye contact, human touch, and compassionate, uninterrupted attention (“When you are listening to a patient, do not do anything else. Just listen”). Other chapters incorporate tips on mental health assessments, drug prescribing, and caring for “difficult” patients. A comprehensive closing section (“General rules for being a physician and a professional”) encompasses a cornucopia of clinical guidance that will be of particular benefit to medical students. Throughout, the author’s advice underscores the importance of prioritizing human interaction above corporate bottom lines. A few of the notes here make oddly broad assumptions (“After midnight all [dementia] cases get clinically strange”), but they’re all well-intentioned and practical.
A slim, potent guide to compassionate medical care.