Florida Doctor

FLDR 2019 Spring

Florida Doctor Magazine. Helping Doctors to better care, better practice and better life

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Page 16 of 59

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 17 and a soul. Saint Augustine, the Christian theologian of the fourth and fih century, seems to have accepted this tripartite view of the human being and helped implement this view as part of Church doctrine. By the ninth century, the Arab civiliza- tion brought a greater knowledge of hu- man anatomy to Europe. From Greece, the Hippocratic Corpus appeared. Vesalius, the Flemish Physician, produced accurate anatomical drawings of the human body in the 16th century. William Harvey pub- lished a detailed description of the human circulatory system. In 1655, Robert Hooke identified cells as the basic structural and functional units of plants and living tissue using an optical microscope. By the 17th century, the practice of healing had become scientific in its methodology. In the middle of the 19th century, Virchow identified cellular pathology as an inevita- ble accompaniment of many diseases. Growth of Knowledge and Technology e centuries since have seen enormous advancements in the treatment of many illnesses. Technological advances result from better knowledge and technological utilization of physics and chemistry. e causative factors responsible for those changes have altered, for the better, our understanding of the nature of health and the processes of healing. Scientific medicine is much more now than diagnosis, prognosis and minimal treatment as it was in the days of Hippo- crates. It has become a globally-accepted system of knowledge which can treat most diseases effectively, identify new diseases as they arise and even correct genetic er- rors that cause great suffering. Efforts now abound to create new forms of treatment for ancient diseases, and rehabilitation us- ing electronics has made it possible for the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear and the "dead" to be raised. Mankind has gained a great deal because of the de- parture of healing from its ancient, largely superstitious context and perspective. However, I believe that in doing so, humanity may have lost an important em- phasis critical to our understanding of hu- man nature—its personal as well as social dimensions. At one time, not so long ago, a special personal relationship between the healer ("doctor" or "physician" during the last three centuries) and his patients who were bonded together by trust and caring has been replaced by an impersonal rela- tionship between the two, marred by many intrusions, including those by insurance companies, governmental regulations, drug manufacturers and a host of other dominating influences. Holistic Healing: Mind, Body, Spirit More significant than even this may be the understanding of human nature into three unrelated compartments of experience described as body, mind and spirit. is view is accompanied by the false notion that each can be dealt with in isolation by experts who oen do not oen have an adequate insight into the holistic nature of an individual. Perhaps, it is not the academic prac- tice of scientific medicine per se that has caused a diminution in the value of the

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