High-Tech Medicine and the Physician-Patient Relationship

By Kapocsi, Erzsebet | Ethics & Medicine, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

High-Tech Medicine and the Physician-Patient Relationship


Kapocsi, Erzsebet, Ethics & Medicine


Modern medicine has its foundations in natural science and technology. It holds the complete control over the human body as its ideal. Its achievements are fascinating, and its perspectives are boundless. The evolution of what we may call techno-medicine did not start in recent days, but rather it has just reached the level at which it is capable of opening whole new dimensions of medical thinking and a new spectrum of possible actions to be taken-as opposed to orthodox medicine.1 In the older days, a physician had to rely on the five senses and a few simple devices to form a diagnosis, whereas today there are hundreds of biochemical tests, ECG, EEG, various types of X-rays, ultrasounds, CTs, and PETs at his disposal. He may measure all quantifiable parameters and can then summarize and store his results in computer databases. After having set up a scientifically precise diagnosis, he can pick out the optimal available therapy and suggest it to the patient. If an invasive method or surgical operation is required, laparoscopes, endoscopes, computerized microscopes, laser technology, and even robot-surgeons are there to aid the medical team. Terminally ill body parts can be replaced with transplants or artificial implants (heart valves, pacemakers, joints, bones, etc.). Hereditary diseases, genetic abnormalities can be screened with prenatal tests. There are specialized technological methods and special devices to deal with specific problems, from kidney dialysis to artificial insemination and cosmetic surgery. In an acute crisis the patients, from infants to the elderly, can be placed in intensive care units, where machines constantly monitor all vital body functions, and artificial respiration, as well as nutrition, is provided as needed.

The patients who are referred to the hospital or clinic with symptoms of an uncertain background find themselves in a mammoth medical plant. They are transferred from one department to the next, where they are examined with all sorts of instruments and devices they know nothing about, and they meet various doctors and technicians they have never met, and will probably never see again, if they are lucky enough. During these short examinations, lasting maybe from five minutes to half an hour, they are hardly talked to, and receive no feedback as to their results. They feel lost and alienated, and the anxiety caused by the sickness itself is compounded by a fear of the unknown technical apparatus.2

High-tech medicine is the level of medicine where the use of modern technical instruments and devices is not considered an exceptional occasion, but a part of the everyday routine. It results in a change of quality as opposed to traditional medical practice, both in diagnostics and in the field of therapy. Techno-medicine became a part of everyday practice by the end of the 20th century. Understanding of this particular type of medicine begins not with the patient or the doctor, but with comprehension of the technology involved. He who wishes to understand modern medicine should know its instruments.3

Tools, Instruments, Technology

Medical tools are exact, precise, and able to provide much useful information in a very short time. With their help it becomes possible to minimize stress, pain, and time spent hospitalized. These wonders of technological achievement never tire, and are devoid of any margin for subjective error. The technical arsenal of modern medicine possesses a built-in knowledge, primarily not medical, but of natural science, engineering, and information technology.4 This means these devices were designed or modified to suit the needs of human medicine. Their advanced state of development doesn't in itself guarantee their success in practice, for the medical knowledge of the users-technicians and doctors-is also required. The machine only becomes a tool to help in diagnosis and the patients' convalescence when it is in the hands of the skilled doctor. In itself it "behaves" like other machines do-it wears out, breaks down, and is subject to the technological race, since newer and better versions may appear on the market. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

High-Tech Medicine and the Physician-Patient Relationship
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.