Chapter

Left Alone in the Computer Tomograph

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0091
Left Alone in the Computer Tomograph

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Modern medicine uses technology, even nuclear technology, in diagnosis and therapy. But not only this, technology comes between physician and patient. In diagnosis, the patient is examined by technology, perhaps even left alone in a computer tomograph. Test results are transmitted to invisible technologists and physicians via monitors. This is a tremendous advance in the treatment of the sick, but, nevertheless, it is frightening to some. People miss having a person to help them deal with their problems. They miss having a physician who personally examines, palpates, talks to them, treats them with his or her hands, and considers their personal fate. The image of high-tech medicine overlaid the successes of this medicine, creating fears that have pushed people to seek alternatives. The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is such an alternative; for example, acupuncture promised that no technology would come between physician and patient.

Keywords: modern medicine; technology; computer tomograph; traditional Chinese medicine; physician

Chapter.  434 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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