Recent Posts by Judith Harvey

The role of humanity in the consultation

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

Seeing in others when we can’t see ourselves

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

On the scent of cancer

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

Have you had your 
four-a-day today?

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

The art of diagnosis

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

Nobody’s ever called a ‘blind old fart’

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

An Dotair Mòr

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

Children of a Lesser God

There are more than 800,000 people in this country who were born deaf or lost their hearing before they learned to speak. But until recently totally deaf people were obliged to struggle to talk like the rest of us. With tragic results. It is understandable that we in the hearing world should wish the deaf…
Read more

What does it take to change the game?

When is a good idea truly revolutionary? The Oxford English Dictionary defines a game-changer as ‘an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something’. If you came back to medicine after a sleep of – let’s say 10 years – you’d find some crucial…
Read more

Promises, promises

It’s now a month since the general election, and it didn’t turn out as most people expected. But that doesn’t mean that the outcome for the NHS will be very different. How many of the rash promises thrown like sweets at the electorate look likely to be realised? It didn’t seem worth reading the manifestos,…
Read more

Funny glasses

Short sightedness isn’t a disease, yet myopia is the commonest cause of poor sight worldwide. In the west, it is usually no more than a minor inconvenience alleviated by corrective eyewear, but in countries with poor infrastructure it can make the difference between a successful life and one of poverty and dependence. WHO estimates that…
Read more

Recent Comments by Judith Harvey