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“When I was in the hospital I was poked and probed and ultraviolated, but never touched,” a patient told Dr. Jeff Kane. Over the past forty years he's heard thousands of such stories from patients and their families. They appreciate medicine’s awesome technology, but yearn for low-tech contact. They want their suffering treated as well as their illness. Dr. Kane shows that our current “healthcare crisis” isn’t fundamentally economic, but social: where we’d benefit from skilled doctor-patient contact, we’ve been seduced into overusing expensive, invasive, and often hazardous technologies. The venerable “bedside manner” isn’t simply Marcus Welby congeniality; it’s powerfully therapeutic medicine. Dr. Kane describes it, shows how we lost it, and how we’ll regain it.

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