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Earning Patient Trust Through The Power Of Touch

Abraham Verghese, MD, Standford University

My wife has two world-class oncologists who help her manage her Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  Both are excellent clinicians.  Yet their skills differ in one very important way.  Her radiation oncologist physically touches her a lot (in a good way of course!).  There are the touches on her arm, a hand on the shoulder, hugs, and of course a thorough hands-on physician exam.  Her medical oncologist not so much.

We all recognize the therapeutic value of touch.  Dr. Abraham Verghese, a Stanford Physician and Professor, at the 2011 Med2.0 Conference, described the power of touch associated with the physical exam.  In the following scenario he describes an interaction with a chronic fatigue patient who came to him after being seen by many other physicians: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*

The Calming Effect Of A Touch

So, Megen wrote this post recently about “Therapeutic Presence.”  The following passage really caught my attention:

Question is: are there more things in nursing, Horatio, than science can explain? Can we touch patients and zap them with calmness or take away their pain? Can we, by our mindset during our provision of care, substantially affect our patients’ outcomes? Can any of this be taught? Can we do it on purpose? I don’t know. That situation has captured my attention, though, because the flip side must also be true—if I despise my patient, she can probably tell that too, regardless of how tightly I’m controlling my behavior.

Little backstory:  A few weeks ago I had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  Basically, a very nice surgeon made a few incisions into my abdomen, inserted a camera and some wrenches or something, and took my gall bladder out.  I had never had surgery before.  Never been intubated.  I have been on “the bed side” quitefew times, but never for surgery.

A week elapsed between the time we decided to do surgery and the time the surgery actually happened.  It was a really hard week for me as I was very anxious about the whole thing.  I’m not even sure what exactly it was that I was nervous about.  I Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at code blog - tales of a nurse*

Changing The Feel Of The Physical Exam

I suffer with herniated lumbar disks.  L4-L5 bulges and ruptures on occasion.  If you catch me on the wrong day I have a little curvature to my back representing the spasm that makes me miserable.

I saw an extremely well-referenced orthopedic surgeon in consultation recently.  But through the course of my visit he never touched me.  We spent an extraordinary amount of time examining my MRI.  Together in front of a large monitor we looked at every angle of my spine with me asking questions.  I could see first hand what had been keeping me up at night.  I could understand why certain positions make me comfortable.  What we drew from those images could never be determined with human hands.  In my experience as a patient, I consider it Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

A “Touch” Of Outer Space For The Blind

NASA, in an attempt to have visually-impaired people get a glimpse of what’s “out there,” has created a reconstruction of a Hubble image of the Carina Nebula in a 3D touch map.

Different textures applied to the image help in identifying the various parts of the giant dust cloud. We even think that visually-okay folks can get a better sense of the cosmic anatomy when offered such a presentation.

Read more on this from NASA here.

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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