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.