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The Nature of Clinical MedicineThe Return of the Clinician$
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Eric Cassell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199974863

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199974863.001.0001

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Accepting the Challenge

Accepting the Challenge

(p.301) Chapter 12 Accepting the Challenge
The Nature of Clinical Medicine

Eric J. Cassell

Oxford University Press

In clinical medicine, the problems are not just diseases but the persons in trouble because of sickness, disease, malnutrition, dementia, inadequate finances, or a combination of these factors. Currently, medicine is still focused on diseases, not persons, so it treats patients inadequately. In this chapter the author speaks from his own experience. The author challenges new physicians with questions pertinent to their profession: Do you want to be the clinician of this book? What do you want from medicine? What is the price for just “going with the flow?” The joy of medicine is patients. Skills, knowledge, and getting better at it are also involved. Medicine has special habits of mind that allow clinicians to work with the very sick and dying, and in the process, equanimity and imperturbability are learned. Closeness and relationships with patients-their management, utility, pleasures, and dangers-are also discussed in this chapter. Clinicians through the ages have cared for sick patients and have loved their difficult lives, for good reasons.

Keywords:   joy of medicine, skills, knowledge, habits of mind, relationships with patients, clinician

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