Over the course of the years I've studied with some of the best. Dr. Broda Barnes was perhaps the first to 'radicalize' my way of thinking about the practice of medicine. He argued that we must treat the patient, and then, shaking a sheaf of laboratory reports, would underscore the wrong way – ‘Don't treat numbers on paper’. Since that privileged encounter, I've always sought to truly treat patients, using the numbers on paper as an assist, not the truth about the patient.
Last weekend I met and studied with another free thinker, not indoctrinated with years of medical school, yet strongly grounded in both the reality of what is and the science in print that tries to understand it. T.S. Wiley and team presented a truly remarkable two days - a way of thinking that was in some ways as important as Dr. Barnes' ‘Treat the Patient’ directive.
We met at a planetarium, of all things. With state of the art electronics and visuals, we were reminded graphically that we are a part of the universe. The universe moves, cycles, and is never, never static. In a wonderful way, we were shown that, being part of all that, we are not designed to be static, always the same. Women, especially, are rhythmic, cycling, changing creatures. To impose upon them the static, always-the-same protocols doesn't fit the way we are, any more than static lab numbers on paper adequately describes who a person is or what they are going through.
If you are interested in exploring - not new ideas so much as new vistas from which to perceive your practice of medicine, as well as the very practical how-to's, you should consider spending a weekend with TS Wiley and her team.
Richard S. Wilkinson, M.D., Yakima, WA