dimanche 16 mars 2008

After the meeting with my friend

Yesterday, I met a friend of my university days for the first time in the last 30 years. He travels in France with his family at the occasion of his retirement. After walking in the Montparnasse area, we had a diner at a sea food restaurant. During our conversation, he talked about his experience with cerebrovascular accident that attacked him about 10 years ago. In the course of his illness, he has never felt healed physically and more importantly psychologically. From his experience at the hospital, I had a feeling that there is something wrong about the present system of medical practice, and that it is time to think about the problems surrounding medicine today.

First of all, there is no definitive definition of disease (illness or sickness) and health. How you perceive "disease" is critical to the successful healing, because that determines the attitude of the doctor and the society toward the patient and therefore the psychological state of the patient. This is certainly a scientific issue but I think this requires more of philosophical reflections. Secondly, I wondered again whether the medical education considers seriously this aspect of medicine, because of my impression or prejudice that the doctor today does not see the patient as a suffering person but as an expression of clinical data.

Contracting a disease is an inevitable event in our life. After our meeting, I reaffirmed that a deep understanding of the issues on health and disease will be one of my projects in the future and believe that will change the whole picture not only of medical practice but of our life.


boglady said...

Yes, I agree that doctors generally do not try to connect with the patients in ways other than clinical symptoms and prescribing the correct medication. Perhaps it requires a lot of wisdom and well defined knowing of self along with a recognized medical philosophy. In the U. S., the Drs. are overworked and always worrying about liability suits. Litigation lawyers appear on TV ads listing conditions and then suggesting that it may be a malpractice issue. In Chicago, Illinois, most of the obstetricians have fled to the suburbs and other areas due to high malpractice suits here. Well, what can one expect? People are plugged into their entertainment and prefer to live alone. About half of my circle of friends are on antidepressants.

Without a regular connection of others, both patients and doctors are out of balance. I hope you can find a way of helping the medical people to think this thru.

paul_ailleurs said...

Thank you for your comments. Not necessarily in the U.S., the situations surrounding the medical practice are similar in the developed countries including Japan. Waiting for hours to see the doctor for just 5-10 minutes. Under these conditions, it is almost impossible to establish a reasonable patient-doctor relation. And I can understand the doctor only see the numbers in the clinical exam. I think the patient's way of looking at diseases is strongly influenced by the reductionist view, seen in the attitude of just demanding the medicament, for example. Litigation problem is prevalent also in Japan, one of the influences from the U.S., I believe.

I totally agree with you. We need a certain philosophical basis of how we perceive disease and health and this is not only the problem of medical side but the problem of our perception. We probably have to shift our thinking from the mechanistic or reductionist view to the holistic one, I think at the present time. As our ancestors say, to philosophize is to change the way of look at things. We definitely have to philosophize on this big problem.

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