Mrs Jones likes blue pills; they work better than those pink ones – even though they are the same drug. But she wouldn’t touch blue mashed potato. Wine buffs rate a wine higher if they believe it is expensive. Consumers are sure that a brand name product is superior to an identical generic, whether it…Read more
About: Judith Harvey
Judith Harvey was a research scientist, ran the VSO programme in Papua New Guinea and taught in a Liverpool comprehensive school before going to medical school. She has been a partner, a salaried GP and a locum, an LMC chair and a long-time supporter NASGP. Her charity, Cuba Medical Link, enables medical students to go to Cuba for their electives.
Recent Posts by Judith Harvey
You are 13 years old. Your family is poor. Each month you have to take a week off school. In a few months you are so behind in your school work that you drop out for ever. You live in an African country, in India, in the Australian outback...in Leeds. You are 14 years old,…Read more
Judith Harvey examines the memoirs of some eminent hospital consultants, who are not just summing up their careers, but reflecting on the changes they have lived through. And when they are retired, they can say what they think. Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh set the trend with Do No Harm. Stephen Westaby, in Fragile Lives, tells how…Read more
How long before machines are cleverer than us? The first robots were clockwork novelties. Now robots – named for the Russian word robotnic, meaning worker – can outperform humans at ever more tasks. But robots are specialists. They don’t have our versatility – yet. They can’t yet do what every child can do – transfer…Read more
What had changed in the 15 years since I was last in India? I would never have guessed: leggings. Women everywhere were wearing them. And Prime minister Narendra Modi had just announced demonetisation, a bold measure to tackle corruption. From midnight on 8th November 2016 the banknotes which comprised 85% of India’s currency were no…Read more
There is a rift between science and humanity which GPs must try to bridge in every consultation. As a student I spent two weeks in a rural GP practice. I sat in on consultations and several of the GPs asked me, in my first week of clinical training, how their colleagues handled their consultations. I…Read more
With prosopagnosia, some people can’t even recognise themselves. Yet, others never forget a face. In the cinema, I often nudge my husband and whisper “Is this chap the same one we saw in the last scene?” and he hisses back “No, of course not!”. And every time I have changed school or job, there have…Read more
Ever since dogs found hunter-gatherers’ campsites a good place to scavenge and decided to adopt humans, we have created roles for them: hunting, protecting property, mountain rescue, companionship, and as ‘assistance dogs’. No doubt dogs have been helping people with poor vision for millennia, but it was a German doctor looking after soldiers blinded by…Read more
Five-a-day is so old hat. Time for a new campaign. On YouTube Charlotte Diamond sings that “four hugs a day - that’s the minimum” is what we need (don't watch this straight after breakfast - Ed). And she tells us how to do it and whom to hug. Neuro-economist Paul Zac prescribes eight hugs. I…Read more
Diagnosis, as we know, depends on history and examination. A work of art lacks the former, but it’s interesting to consider what artists notice. In the ancient civilizations of Greece and India the sculptor’s purpose was to portray human perfection. Representations of real, imperfect human beings are also rare in Egyptian art. There is a…Read more
A telling insight is attributed to Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf: "Blindness cuts you off from things but deafness cuts you off from people.” Yet visual problems attract much more research money than deafness. More than 10 million people in Britain have hearing loss. Given the aging population and the popularity of…Read more
GP sought to establish first practice on island. No electricity. No telephone. Nearest hospital 12 hours away by boat, weather permitting. Obstetric skills and Gaelic essential. That, in essence, was what The Highlands and Islands Medical Service was offering. Plus a house, a rowing boat and car (of limited use as there were few roads),…Read more
Recent Comments by Judith Harvey
- May 8, 2017 on What’s the Point of Swearing?
- January 26, 2017 on Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?
- January 12, 2017 on On the scent of cancer
- October 20, 2016 on Will I still be me?
- October 11, 2016 on On the scent of cancer