Dr. Abraham Verghese is a prolific writer and revered physician who has deeply contemplated the philosophical underpinnings of the practice of medicine. He is renowned as an advocate for the importance of bedside examination and physical diagnosis, and his best-selling books probe the intricacies of human connection in the context of healthcare. In this episode, Dr. Verghese discusses how maintaining a literary life has impacted his approach to doctoring, why the human touch still matters for healing in our increasingly digital age, and his vision of the future of medicine.
In this episode, you will hear about:
- How Dr. Verghese’s love of literature influenced his decision to enter medicine - 2:39
- Reflections on the challenges of contemporary medicine - 7:51
- How physical exams can be seen as a ritual for “reading the body like a book” - 10:07
- Dr. Verghese’s perspective on the future of doctor-patient relationships given the rise of telemedicine and other technologies - 20:36
- Balancing the need to connect with each patient for their treatment, while being responsible for so many at once - 26:23
- How the craft of writing relates to medicine for Dr. Verghese - 31:50
- The counterintuitive diagnostic efficiency of taking the time and care to meet patients where they are at - 35:45
Dr. Verghese is the author of three books:
My Own Country (1994) - traces the story of young Dr. Verghese in the mid-1980s in Johnson City, Tennessee, who began to treat patients with a then unknown disease, HIV.
The Tennis Partner (1999) - Dr. Verghese writes of his experience moving to El Paso in the midst of an unraveling marriage. There, he meets and becomes a mentor to David Smith, a medical resident at the hospital and a brilliant tennis player recovering from drug addiction.
Cutting for Stone (2009) - a novel about twin brothers, orphaned by their mother's death in childbirth and forsaken by their father.
The book that Dr. Verghese credits as having inspired him to pursue medicine is Of Human Bondage (1915), by William Somerset Maugham - Available for free
Follow Dr. Verghese on Twitter @cuttingforstone and visit his website AbrahamVerghese.org.
Visit our website www.TheDoctorsArt.com where you can find transcripts of all episodes.
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