Videos: Possibilities in Life Transitions Lesson 2


Rituals, Metaphors and Medicine in a Tech Age

Published on Dec 13, 2014

Abraham Verghese, prof. of Medicine at Stanford University, is a fierce advocate of the physician-patient interaction which extends beyond medicine and the ritual of examining the patient that is all about transformation. He is in favor of the bedside diagnosis and physical diagnosis in an era of big data and increasingly sophisticated medical technology, where computer-based information often supersedes the patient’s story. Dr. Verghese also stated that nowadays we have the “i-patient”, a virtual entity of patient in the computer, that receives more attention than the patient in bed. For him the great joy of being a physician is that he is allowed to peoples’ lives at a very vulnerable moment.

The last five minutes are especially relevant to this topic.


Abraham Verghese: A doctor's touch

Uploaded on Sep 26, 2011

Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam.

Judith Gaser describes the use of ritual of transformation

Published on Dec 9, 2013

As a social anthropologist Judith Glaser talks about the power of ritual in transformation.