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June 1982

The Care of the Patient, Revisited

Author Affiliations

University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center 3400 Spruce St Philadelphia, PA 19104

Arch Intern Med. 1982;142(6):1087-1088. doi:10.1001/archinte.1982.00340190043005

In 1927, Francis Weld Peabody cautioned against referring to a patient as "that case of mitral stenosis in the second bed on the left." "The trouble is," he noted, "that it leads, more or less directly, to the patient being treated as a case of mitral stenosis, and not as a sick man."1

Today, Dr Peabody's concerns are represented by protest against a biomedically proficient, highly specialized profession lacking a "whole patient" perspective and often blind to the patient's emotional needs.2 Not much has changed in the intervening half century since Dr Peabody wrote: "Young graduates have been taught a great deal about the mechanism of disease, but very little about the practice of medicine—or, to put it more bluntly, they are too 'scientific' and do not know how to take care of patients."1

In an effort to encourage attention to biosocial concerns and partly in response

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