Clio in the Clinic: History in Medical Practice
Published: May 2005© 2004
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 350 Pages
Dimensions: 6.27 x 9.28
350 Pages, 6.27 x 9.28 x 0.97 in
Sometimes, history can solve a medical mystery; at other times, it can point to the right treatment or console a despairing doctor by demonstrating a timeless connection to unchanging aspects of human existence. In Clio in the Clinic, twenty-three doctors, each of whom is also an accomplished historian, write autobiographically about how they use history in their practice of medicine. Their stories of clinical experiences show that historical thinking can serve in the diagnosis and care of patients.
These essays constitute new evidence for an old argument about the utility of history in medicine. They open an intimate window on how history informs and serves clinical practice and describe what life is like for doctors when they leave the history meetings and go back to the wards.
The contributors to this volume hail from five countries and represent sixty years of training; the most senior completed medical school in 1943, the youngest in 2003. They include several internists, four pediatricians, two psychiatrists, two infectious disease specialists, one neurologist, one emergentologist, and one surgeon. Topics include: history in the service of patients, the doctor-patient relationship, disease causation, administrative dilemmas, and the use of history to reflect on current trends in the practice of medicine.
Many books make claims for the value of teaching history to future physicians, but none have explored the clinical experience of those doctors who are experts in history. Clio in the Clinic shows how knowledge of history can shape a physician's view of the profession and how it can be a surprising asset at the bedside for diagnosis and treatment. Not all the endings are happy, but these tales of medical life are written with insight, honesty, humour, and great affection for medicine, its history, and its people.