Griner, a medical doctor, offers a straight-talking diagnosis of social lapses in medical training and what can be done to rectify them.
Technological advancement often means medical practitioners have to play catch-up. As medical practice globalizes and new technologies proliferate, doctors could become less familiar with their patients’ medical histories and, Griner warns, they could be too quick to defer to readily available solutions, thereby wasting money and endangering health. But thankfully, Griner says, there’s a cure. In a remarkable assemblage of both pre-existing knowledge and novel approaches drawn from a multitude of sources, ranging from Hippocrates to contemporary studies of the medical community, Griner makes a case for the importance of the human aspects of treatment, which he illustrates with a plethora of anecdotes. “Professionalism and sound clinical skills mark the good physician,” not only education and access to remedies, he argues. Griner’s experiences are manifold, and he recounts them with the sensitivity and intelligence one expects from a competent physician. He tells of the influenza epidemic in Boston in 1960, when Massachusetts General Hospital didn’t have enough respirators to go around, of performing an emergency resuscitation on a patient using stripped radio wires and two needles and of finding an aorta defect in a medical school classmate that’s still causing symptoms several years later. The various accounts are organized logically, with special attention paid to how they might be useful to students of medicine, including a series of reflective questions that follow each anecdote. Griner admirably balances his profession’s technical lexicon with a steady, well-paced narrative, which, taken as a whole, provides a varied but cohesive examination of many crucial issues facing bioethicists and the medical profession in general.
Though intended for medical students and those practicing the profession, these well-crafted anecdotes constitute an informed, fresh perspective of use to anyone interested in modern medical practice.