Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of William Hanson's provocative new book, The Edge of Medicine. This thoughtfully constructed book is cleverly peppered with stories of personal experiences, memorable patients, and well-known explorers of the universe of ideas, which make this an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. From the story of the Mayan skull with evidence that the ancients were not only adept at virgin sacrifice but also actually competent dentists, to the technology that allows the brilliant Stephen Hawking to continue sharing his thoughts and ideas with the world, the reader is taken on an incredible journey. Cleverly weaving history with modern medical practice, one is reminded of the roots of medicine and how the past connects us to the present. Technology, as it encroaches more into our everyday lives, plays a key role in the future of medicine and medical practice.
Remote (robotic) surgery, data management, bioengineering, “personalized medicine,” and home telehealth are just a sample of the wide-ranging topics covered by this knowledgeable and gifted writer. This book will not only be of interest to anesthesiologists and others in the medical field but also inspire the curious among us who desire to learn more about the evolution of health care. In addition, for those cynics who are skeptical that technology will result in a lack of physician attention to detail and excessive attention to machines and data, there is no need to fret. For those who fear technology may replace good old tender loving care, take heart. Technology, when properly used, will only enhance physician care as we are reminded by the famous pharmacologist, Louis Lasagna, in his modern version of the Hippocratic Oath: “… there is an art to medicine as well as a science and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or chemist's drug.” Read this book and enjoy a look at what medicine has been, is now, and hopefully will always be in the future: in the best interest of the patient!
Linda D. White, BSN, MS