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November 20, 1996

The Lost Art of Healing

JAMA. 1996;276(19):1603-1604. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540190075035

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Dr Bernard Lown has made major contributions to medical science. A pioneer in the study of the relation of potassium to digitalis toxicity, he also introduced direct-current cardioversion for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, was a major developer of the coronary care unit, and helped put the study of sudden death on the medical agenda. With Dr Samuel A. Levine, he fostered the early mobilization of patients recovering from a myocardial infarction, advocating that the patient sit in an armchair soon after the attack, and with Russian cardiologist Evegeni Chazof, he organized the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, for which they won the Nobel Peace Prize.

In The Lost Art of Healing, Dr Lown devotes five chapters to his research activities, but most of the book focuses on his passion for the art of medicine, the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, caring for patients, and the need for