The Faith of a Doctor

Learning to See Beyond the Symptoms

As a young physician, I often struggle with how I am supposed to “see” my patients. History-taking, physical examination, diagnosis, and treatment: a physician tries to see patients with a dispassionate gaze, so that he or she can sort out the modest complaint from the life-threatening one.

Looking at patients dispassionately does not come naturally. You have to learn it, and the process can be a shock. I recall the first autopsy...

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About the Author

Abraham Nussbaum, MD, is a psychiatry resident in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.