(Introduction to the Book and Part One: In Defense of Medicine)

Article excerpt

This book is about the transformation of traditional medicine into the modern "scientific" variety, and the patients' and doctors' adventures on this journey. It is also about losses. The ethical and intellectual costs of modernization are proving painfully high. The curative powers of medicine have enormously expanded, but doctors' clinical skills have suffered, resulting in a medical practice that is less rational, less beneficial to patients, and more expensive than it need be. Doctors' practice and bed side manners have deteriorated, making the medical treatment a trying experience for many patients. Traditional ethics, to which the profession owed its good name, is being forcefully challenged.

The losses incurred in the process of modernization are understandable, but such losses were not necessary. I am convinced that many losses could have been avoided. And I firmly believe that the doctors' lost skills and high ethical standards can be restored. To bring this goal a little closer is the main purpose of the present work.

I shall also try to dispel certain misconceptions. In recent decades, medicine, health care, and the medical profession have been blessed with the attention of scholars from various domains: lawyers, philosophers, theologians, psychologists, sociologists, and business managers. …