For Those Studying Medicine..(4)

The superior doctor prevents sickness;
The mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness;
The inferior doctor treats actual sickness;

-Old Chinese Proverb

Comments: This saying exemplifies the holistic concept of Chinese traditional medicine, whereas Western medicine focuses mainly on curative treatment. If there’s an infection, the Western-trained doctor would focus on antibiotics to knock off the bug, but Chinese medicine would attribute it to imbalance of forces in the person and focus on their general wellbeing and rectifying the imbalance. There is a greater emphasis on prevention; as seen by the omnipresent barefoot doctors promoted by Mao Tse-Tung in the 1960s.

Medical students should not forget that preventative medicine is the backbone of their role as doctors and not over-emphasize curative treatment. The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease, so said Thomas Edison.

Management staff can learn from this too : it is important to pre-empt any problems from arising; by looking out for warning signals, rather than allow untoward events to eventually happen.

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One response

  1. Doc, which would provide faster results? Curative or preventive? Would this be a factor in the practice of modern medicine? Just wondering.

    Doctor2008 says: Wow, a simple question with very complex answers! As I’ve stated in an earlier post,
    “After all, the art of medicine is really an imprecise science applied to an even more imprecise subject -the human body.”
    There are so many variables involved -like age,sex,ethnic group,predisposing factors- that it is difficult to say which would give faster results. Added to this is the complexity of modern medical treatment. The point I was trying to make is that prevention is better than cure, and I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

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