(p. 18) Doctors today often complain of working in an occupational black hole in which patient encounters are compressed into smaller and smaller space and time. You can do a passable job in a 10-minute visit, they say, but it is impossible to appreciate the subtleties of patient care when you are rushing.
Enter “Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing,” a wonderful new memoir by Dr. Victoria Sweet.
. . .
One of the most compelling stories in the book is about Joey, a 3-year-old who is diagnosed with terminal lung disease after a near-drowning but against the odds makes it off the ventilator and out of the hospital. Sweet interprets Joey’s recovery in part as a victory for prayer. “Prayer worked,” she writes, “at least that once and maybe sometimes and maybe always.” I would see it differently: Joey was saved because a lung specialist slowly decreased airway pressure and tidal volume over several weeks in a patient with acute respiratory distress syndrome. And, as Sweet points out, it was slow medicine that allowed that doctor to make the proper adjustments.
Perhaps Sweet’s most depressing conclusion is that Joey would have died today. His doctors “would have been too busy entering health care data” that was required “according to all the mandated protocols.”
For the full review, see:
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the review has the date Jan. 26, 2018, and has the title “A Doctor Argues That Her Profession Needs to Slow Down, Stat.”)
The book under review is:
Sweet, Victoria. Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing. New York: Riverhead Books, 2017.