23 Nov, 10 | by Deborah Kirklin
I recently attended the funeral of the local parish priest and this led me to consider many of the similarities between what I do in medicine and the role of the ‘Parish Priest’ as well as the ‘misrepresentation’ of 21st medicine. I work in intensive care, a setting of immense emotional stress for patients and relatives, and not infrequently for staff as well. Intensive care can appear more like the cockpit of an aeroplane – full of machines that bleep and flash as they keep patients alive. This, however, can belie the true meaning of what we do. There is an evolving mis-interpretation of what medicine is: that good medicine in the 21st century is skill based technical wizardry, where ‘good’ doctors are people, who can diagnose, treat and cure using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI’s), gene therapy, or laser guided scalpels and the like.