In Its Millennium Issue, Essayists Explore Many Facets of Time
PHILADELPHIA -- (Jan. 4, 2000) From Hippocrates' recording a patient's illness day by day to the invention of the thermometer which measures body temperature at a given point in time, medicine is linked with linear or chronological time. But medicine has interacted, and interacts with, "a spectacular array of alternative views of time," say Richard V. Lee, MD, and Frank Davidoff, MD, in an editorial in the January 4, 2000, Millennium Issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The special Millennium Issue contains essays and thoughts on time and medicine by medical thinkers, writers, and physicians; by a futurist, an informatician, a historian and others.
The pressure on today's physicians' time, the drive "to cram more - more patients, more procedures, more curriculum - into every waking moment" is troubling, say Lee and Davidoff. Good medicine often takes time - time to listen to patients, time to talk about prevention and help patients change destructive lifestyles, time to let a diagnosis emerge, time to allow a medication to work, rather than blasting it with the latest therapy a health plan will pay for or the patient expects.
Essayists in the Annals Millennium issue explore concepts of time ranging from kronos to kairos; personal to public; singular to simultaneous; cyclical, like the cycles of agriculture, hunting, sun and stars, to the linear arrow of time, moving from point A to point B. They show how time is experienced differently by those in good and bad health and how a society's concept and experience of time affects its practice of medicine. Death, the end of a lifetime, is seen as rebirth by traditional healers but as failure for a Western doctor with a one-way or linear view of time.
A highlight of the issue is Richard V. Lee's interview with Paul Beeson, MD, a beloved teacher whose career spans three-quarters of the twentieth century. Other essayists and their thoughts in the Annals Millennium Issue:
Note to Editors:
Anyone interested in writing about time and/or medicine will find this issue helpful as a reference. We'll mail the complete issue to you early in January 2000. For copies of individual articles in the Annals of Internal Medicine "Medicine and Time" issue before day of publication, please call Penelope Fuller at 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2656 or 1-215-351-2656
For interviews with Millennium Issue Editor Richard V. Lee, MD, or Frank Davidoff, MD, Editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, or the essayists, please call Susan Anderson, 215-351-2653.
The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine and Annals of Internal Medicine will close Thurs., Dec. 30, 1999, at 5 p.m. and will reopen Tues., Jan. 4, 2000, at 8 a.m.