This book is a unique collection of personal reflections and ideas from the Annals of Family Medicine, a primary care research journal. Each article has some connection to primary care but, as a compilation, it covers a wide range of topics, from the deeply personal to professional and policy issues. Written by clinicians, researchers and patients, the articles speak with a remarkable honesty, providing inspirational insights into health care and humanity. They shed light on the value of primary care not only as an approach to health care but also the unique and important role it plays in people's lives.
"Primary care is not only a work of science, primary care is a front row seat on life, a rare glimpse of the wonder and mystery present below the surface of the ordinary."
—From the Foreword by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
Foreword. About the editor. List of contributors. Acknowledgments. Introduction. Section 1: Primary care at work. Nasruddin and the coin. One last question: opening Pandora's box? A headache at the end of the day. The joy of family practice. Success, regret, and the struggle for balance. The company we keep: why physicians should refuse to see pharmaceutical representatives. Doctors' work: eulogy for my vocation. Section 2: Patient care and caring. Pounds. The old duffers' club. Home care: a key to the future of family medicine? Boy scouts for Henry. Lessons from my left foot. Section 3: Wounds and healing. Suffering, meaning, and healing: challenges of contemporary medicine. Letting the news. Losing touch in the era of superbugs? The decade dance. The face of cancer. Section 4: Connections. A change will do you good. Linking Ruth to her past. On this day of mothers and sons. Jazz and the 'art' of medicine: improvisation in the medical encounter. Gazing at the future. Section 5: Knowledge. General medical practitioners need to be aware of the theories on which our work depend. The irreverent nature of evidence. Bag of worms. The impotence of being important - reflections on leadership. 'Be gentle and be sincere about it': a story about community-based primary care research. The dark bridal canopy. Making time to write? Section 6: Who we are and where we're going. A public celebration of a personal doctor. Health care becomes an industry. The dream of home ownership. The myth of the lone physician: towards a collaborative alternative. Dinosaurs, hospital ecosystems, and the future of family. Section 7: Medicine, society, the world. The island. Si, Doctora. Stuck in the mud. Indication. The break-even point: when medical advances are less important than improving the fidelity with which they are delivered. Ecological change and the future of the human species: can physicians make a difference? A journey to someplace better. Index.