A 1684 engraving by Robert White depicts England’s King William II performing “the royal touch,” a laying on of hands that was purported to cure scrofula, a form of tuberculosis. In the picture, the patient is kneeling, with the king’s hands touching the affected area. Aside from the fact that the procedure had no basis in science and no effect on a cure, it does illustrate a timeless principle of medical care: the importance of direct contact in the process of providing care.
Frankel RM. Computers in the Examination Room. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(1):128–129. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.6559
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