Saturday, January 17, 2015

#17 / Be Your Own Doctor

The New York Times recently ran a review of The Patient Will See You Now, a new book by Eric Topol. Topol is a cardiologist who directs the Scripps Translational Science Institute.

The reviewer, Abigail Zuger, also an M.D., and an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, says she and Topol appear to "practice medicine on two different planets." I'd probably say, in two different "Worlds!"

Topol predicts that modern medical practice will soon eliminate "the middle man," namely the "doctor," and that technology will make it possible to "dispatch small electronic sensors into patients' bloodstreams or intestines." These sensors will allow at least some patients to "prescribe for themselves." 

Furthermore, cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, and other such killers, will be diagnosed at the molecular level and will then be "preempted" before they actually occur. No doctors actually required.

From my Two Worlds perspective, I see this vision of the future of medicine as one in which human beings are, once again, seeking to escape from the necessities imposed upon us by "Nature," and in which we trying to make our existence dependent upon ourselves alone. That includes, of course, the technological devices that we devise to advance that objective. 

Trying to escape the requirements of the Natural World is always tempting, since the end point of our lives, in the natural order, is always death. 

This is a difficult, but definite fact. 

My prescription: Live with it.

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  1. Live with what? Live with undiagnosed cancer, diabetes, and atherosclerosis? Not for long! Gary, have you had a checkup lately? I'm worried about your health if this post reflects on your understanding of medicine.

  2. By the way, the fear of death isn't why we have medicine. We have medicine to help people who are sick. Sometimes that saves lives, other times it increases the quality of life.

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