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Principles Of Internal Medicine

T. R. Harrison
Published 1955 · Medicine

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This is the second edition of Harrison's fine book. From the point of view of psychosomatic medicine, it is the best medical text we have seen. The authors chosen to write the introductory chapters on "The Physician and the Patient" have an especially good understanding of what comprehensive medicine means. It is pointed out that the physician must "aim to bring his judgment to bear upon the situations as well as on the patient," and must have "time for discussion and appreciation of the multiple causations of illness and disability." But even with the excellent understanding that these writers have of "holism in medicine," semantic difficulties creep in, as in the statement (page 6) "there are a vast number of bodily derangements which are due to functional dislocations that are based neither on structural disease nor on primary psychogenic disorder: shock due to extracellular fluid deficit, diabetic ketosis and paroxysmal auricular tachycardia are examples." If one could wholeheartedly accept the philosophy that a sick man is a complex organism reacting to a complex environment, and that both his behavior as an individual and the behavior of his special tissues are ecological adaptations, no hide-bound classifications would be necessary and the word "organic" could be dispensed with.



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