Patrice Queneau, Damien Mascret

How to Salvage Hospitals, Doctors and Patients Publication date : September 27, 2004

In France, the various problems related to medical care — flaws in the health system, dysfunctions in the emergency services, hospital staff problems, the increased technical nature of medical treatment — are regularly discussed in the political arena and in the media. At times, a serious event or a specific context, such as the heatwave in the summer of 2003, can sharpen demands and protests and quicken debate.
Patrice Queneau and Damien Mascret address a series of questions on the subject of medicine today: What is the significance of medicine? What is the physician’s role? What can be done so patients receive better treatment?
Critical of the system but indulgent in their appraisal of doctors and healthcare workers, the authors propose a strategy to rectify the current situation. How can the image of clinics be improved? What can be done so that time spent with patients is held in higher esteem? What kind of education and training should aspiring physicians receive? How should hospitals be managed?
The originality of this book lies in its form. Through a series of stories and events that are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, the authors give the reader a vivid picture of the dangers that threaten contemporary medicine. They focus on the following themes: the dangers of an overly psychological approach to medicine (not everything is psychosomatic), an excessive use of increasingly technical medical tests and the confusion this can result in, and, finally, the need to go back to a type of medical care in which doctors actually listen to their patients.
With conviction, warmth and humanity, the authors tell us what it means to be a physician. This is a book that tries to reconcile the science with the art of medicine.

Professor Patrice Queneau is the honorary dean of the medical faculty in Saint Etienne, France, and a member of the French National Academy of Medicine. He is the author of Soulager la douleur, published by Editions Odile Jacob.
Damien Mascaret is a physician and journalist.