Alive and kickingBMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d1058 (Published 16 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1058
- Muiris Houston, medical journalist, Ireland, and student on the masters programme in medical humanities, University of Sydney
Is medicine an art or a science? It’s a question as relevant in our highly technological age as it was when René Laennec invented the stethoscope in the early 1800s. Guidelines and protocols may guide assessments and treatment, but in the crucible of a patient interacting with his or her doctor, the art of medicine is often what makes the difference between a successful consultation and one that fails the patient.
Modern medicine does not offer much time for reflection. It’s a pity because within each patient’s narrative lies an opportunity to answer the key question: why is this person seeking medical help at this particular moment in time?
One of the attractions of Visceral: The Living Art Experiment, an exhibition currently on show at the Science Gallery in Trinity College …