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'Meanwhile, in the Real World... '

David Birnkrant
Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(8):1634-1635. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350080156043.
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To the Editor.  —In the last three years, I have had the chance to observe medicine from the provider side (as a medical student) and from the consumer side (due to a serious illness in my family). These experiences produced the following thoughts on Dr Bulger's article, "Service as a Professional Sacrament: Emotional Neutrality and the Power of the Word in Therapy," which appeared in the December issue of the Archives (1982;142:2289-2292).In his article, Dr Bulger advocates renewed emphasis on words as part of the physician's therapeutic arsenal. He notes that medicine's ever-increasing dependence on technology threatens to make physicians into practitioners of a "silent art." But the physician's special place in society makes his words powerful tools that have the potential to produce positive emotions—that is, beneficial biochemical changes—in the patient being served. The proper words may be found by a physician who treats his patients with eupathy


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