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Is The Human Hand Our Best Technology?

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"Only the hand can tell where it's tender, where the patient winces." â?? Abraham Verghese

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Do We Need Humans?

About Abraham Verghese's TEDTalk

Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are data points, and calls for a return to the traditional physical exam.

About Abraham Verghese

In our era of the patient-as-data-point, Abraham Verghese believes in the old-fashioned physical exam, the bedside chat, the power of informed observation. Before he finished medical school, Abraham Verghese spent a year on the other end of the medical pecking order, as a hospital orderly. Moving unseen through the wards, he saw the patients with new eyes, as human beings rather than collections of illnesses. The experience has informed his work as a doctor — and as a writer. "Imagining the Patient's Experience" was the motto of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics, which he founded at the University of Texas San Antonio, where he brought a deep-seated empathy. He's now a professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford, where his old-fashioned weekly rounds have inspired a new initiative, the Stanford 25, teaching 25 fundamental physical exam skills and their diagnostic benefits to interns. He's also the author of a number of books, including his most recent, Cutting For Stone.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR [http://www.npr.org/2013/08/16/173002916/is-the-human-hand-our-best-technology?ft=3&f=1003,1004,1007,1013,1014,1017,1019,1128]

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