coromandal


ear nose and throat
February 22, 2015, 6:39 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , ,
bandipur elephant

The elephant’s trunk isn’t the elephant and the elephant isn’t tree-like; these misapprehensions are the pitfalls of specialization. To really know the elephant must be divine, and will require knowing more than one body part. It’s the same with knowing a patient when you’re a doctor. A specialist doctor who has overspecialized will never know the whole person. He may take care of that particular rare thing you have wrong with your elbow or larynx, and he’ll no doubt be able to afford some houses and boats, but he won’t be a better doctor because he won’t know the patient.

Simon Gray:

How can one trust doctors? They seem to know more and more about their own specialities, less and less about their patients. If they are ear, nose and throat people, then they know the ear, nose and throat of you, but not what these are attached to, you’re not present as a living and ailing organism, you’re there in the bits and pieces he know about, and he’s unlikely? unwilling? unable? to speculate about alternative explanations for your illness, there’s nothing wrong with your ear, nose and throat, so you’d better go to someone who specialized in something else and if you’re lucky you might eventually hit on a man who happens to specialize in whatever is killing you.

The Smoking Diaries, Simon Gray, p45



heart attack
January 26, 2014, 5:15 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , ,

In the 1950s, two researchers named Bruhn and Wolf went to the village of Roseto in eastern Pennsylvania near the New York border, to attempt to find out why the townspeople there were outliving – by a wide margin – people everywhere else in the country.  Their assumption going in had been that there were physical reasons for the longevity, like diet and health.  What they found was evidence that the reason for exceptional health was social.

Rosetto PA was settled in the 1880s by stone workers from the Italian town Rosetto Valfortore.  The settlers brought the name of their southern mountain town with them and apparently they brought a lot more than just the name.  When Bruhn and Wolf visited the town they found a very tightly knit, socially cohesive community.  They were publicly and privately social, they lived in extended families, they worshipped together, they formed multiple social organizations, and the classes mixed and were mutually supportive.   Continue reading