Chapter

The Heavy Hand of the Past: Thinking About Diseases Versus Thinking About Persons

ERIC J. CASSELL

in Doctoring

Published in print July 1997 | ISBN: 9780195113235
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199999828 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195113235.003.0003
The Heavy Hand of the Past: Thinking About Diseases Versus Thinking About Persons

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The problem of designing educational systems to teach methods is complicated by the fact that the kind of knowledge by which physicians know disease and the output of technology is different from and often in conflict with the kind of knowledge by which persons are known. Knowing the history of this conflict, as well as how it is expressed in medical practice is important to educators if students and physicians-in-training are not to be constantly subverted by the lure of “hard data”. Many of the functions people want primary care physicians to perform are contradicted by medical science as it is still taught to students and house officers. Physicians have great difficulty discovering the necessary information about the sick person and entering it into the calculus of their medical judgments so that it has equal weight with information about disease, pathophysiology, and technology.

Keywords: medical practice; educational systems; medical science; pathophysiology; technology

Chapter.  7732 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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