Mayo Clinic Center for Humanities in Medicine in Arizona sponsored Abraham Verghese MD, MACP

February 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

On October 29, 2010, Mayo Clinic Center for Humanities in Medicine in Arizona sponsored Abraham Verghese, MD, MACP at Internal Medicine Grand Rounds.  Verghese is  Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Senior Associate Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. 

Verghese has lectured widely on the importance of the doctor patient relationship, the Samaritan function of physicians and where meaning resides in a medical life.  In his writing and work he emphasizes the importance of bedside medicine and physical examination particularly in the era of advanced technology and computers at the bedside.

In addition to his medical career, Dr. Verghese is an acclaimed author of three novels: Cutting for Stone, My Own Country and The Tennis Partner.  In 1990 he attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  He often employs the reading of fiction when teaching medical students as he believes it provides understanding not found in a textbook.

After his Grand Rounds presentation, Dr. Verghese joined Hospitalist, Dr. Joseph Charles, and residents for rounds at Mayo Hospital in Phoenix.  He met with the internal medicine residents and fellows for their noon conference and led two exercises.  Residents were asked to name as many medical fruit metaphors as possible in a matter of minutes.  This led to lively competition with such terms as “strawberry angioma”, “cherry red spot” and “watermelon stomach”.  In the second exercise selected residents were asked to demonstrate a gait and the others were called on to name the associated disease.  In this exercise Dr. Verghese emphasized the importance of observation in the patient-physician encounter.  He believes that the patient’s body is an “illuminated manuscript”.

Dr. Verghese fulfilled the intention of the lecture benefactors admirably.  He proved to be an inspiring speaker and dedicated teacher of bedside medicine. The invited lectureship was made possible by the generosity of the Jack Taylor Family Foundation Endowment to support “lectures and other forums which will reflect the dimensions of caring that uniquely bond patients to physicians and other caregivers.”

Kay E. Wellik
Mayo Clinic in Arizona

Entry filed under: Feature Articles.

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