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The essence of the art of medicine

Norman Shum
Med J Aust 2006; 185 (11): 672.
Published online: 4 December 2006

To the Editor: I agree with Van Der Weyden’s quotation from Osler: “The practice of medicine is an art, based on science.”1 In my medical training in the 1960s, I was taught that medicine was both an art and a science — perhaps more the former than the latter, given that the technological age was not yet fully upon us. It saddens me that there is now an almost inexorable trend towards the use of advanced technology in medicine and away from human interaction between doctors and patients. I do not believe in reducing humans to mere numbers on a pathology results form or images on a computer-driven x-ray monitor. This is what helping patients “judge” which path to take “through the indeterminacies” back to health1 suggests.

  • Norman Shum

  • Hauteville Terrace, Eastwood, SA.

Correspondence: mencius@senet.com.au

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