Health Care for the Family

  • B. Lewis BarnettJr.


Medical textbooks are written by medical people, physicians for the most part. Few, if any, published works have been written by patients. None are written by families! Could it be possible to compile a text such as this one using the perceptions, anxieties, concerns, feelings, and hopes of the families as the backdrop for the discussion of the body of knowledge called family medicine? I believe that it is possible to write a textbook about medicine with the family as its chief author and its prime benefactor. There need not be a dilution of scientific excellence to accomplish such a feat. Rather, the family awareness brings into focus the multifaceted consequences of disease states. This family awareness brings to life the urgency to interpret problems in the broadest possible sense. Like throwing a stone into the water and watching each ever-enlarging circle and imagining the vibrations that carry the central impact to the outermost waters, the inclusion of the family in medicine adds exponential ways to approach man’s problems. The family gives reason for family medicine to exist. There is a place for the family physician. The physician may be likened to an electric plug, but the family is like the socket—without which there would be no light, no warmth, no spark. These are all simple words, but so are words like caring, compassion, and service. Family physicians understand these words. They know that none of them is singular. They know how to practice medicine in the milieu of family interactions and relationships.


Family Physician Family Doctor Scientific Excellence Medical Textbook Practice Family Medicine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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    McWhinney I: The Introduction to Family Medicine. New York, Oxford Press, 1980.Google Scholar
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    Geyman JP: Family Practice: Foundation of Changing Health Care. New York, Appleton Century Crofts, 1980.Google Scholar
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    Whitehorn J: The doctor’s image of man. N Engl J Med 265: 301–309 1961.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Stephens GG: The intellectual basis of family practice. J Fam Pract 2: 423–428, 1975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
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    Pellegrino ED: Humanism and the Physician. Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press, 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Lewis BarnettJr.

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