BBC Forum: Chaos theory, money and patients

On Sunday May 9, 2009 the BBC Forum (listen here) convened Lord Robert May, former scientific adviser to the British government, Gillian Tett, financial analyst and social anthropologist, and Abraham Verghese, doctor and author. Lord May showed how a very simple equation can be used to create a situation of chaos. His analysis, applicable to ecological changes as well as to epidemics, showed very clearly how a small change in initial conditions can create vastly different results. Gillian Tett, using her dual background presented a fascinating view of the lure of money and Dr.Verghese showed how the ritual of personal examination of a patient by the doctor fulfills an important therapeutic role-an observation worth pondering in this age of medicine by machines and of doctors who, pressured by costs and by greed, hardly spend any time with their patients preferring to rely on test results in lieu of personal observation.

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