Cambridge Catalogue  
  • Help
Home > Catalogue > Technological Medicine
Technological Medicine


  • 24 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • Page extent: 246 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.47 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521835695)

Advances in medicine have brought us the stethoscope, artificial kidneys, and computerized health records. They have also changed the doctor-patient relationship. This book explores how the technologies of medicine are created and how we respond to the problems and successes of their use. Stanley Joel Reiser, MD, walks us through the ways medical innovations exert their influence by discussing a number of selected technologies, including the X-ray, ultrasound, and respirator. Reiser creates a new understanding of thinking about how health care is practiced in the United States and thereby suggests new methods to effectively meet the challenges of living with technological medicine. As healthcare reform continues to be an intensely debated topic in America, Technological Medicine shows us the pros and cons of applying technological solutions health and illness.

• Demonstrates key historical factors spurring the invention and use of technologies in medicine, creates a deep understanding of their benefits and problems for contemporary society and medicine • Focuses on the joint role of consumers/patients and physicians in meeting the challenges of technological health care • Provides insight into how physicians think about what illness and health are, and proposes an alternative way to analyze them as key to improving medical care


1. Revealing the body's whispers: how the stethoscope transformed medicine; 2. Enigmatic pictures: how patients and doctors encountered the X-ray; 3. Life-saving but unaffordable: the improbable journey of the artificial kidney; 4. Promising rescue, preventing release: the double edge of the artificial respirator; 5. The quest to unify health care through the patient record; 6. Putting technologies on trial: from bloodletting to antibiotics to the Oregon initiative; 7. Amid the technological triumphs of disease prevention - where is health?; 8. The technological transformation of birth; 9. Governing the empire of machines.


'Wrap a physician, historian of science, philosopher/health policy expert, and accomplished writer and parable-maker (storyteller) all in one author at the same time, and you have Stanley Reiser. This important book uses the spotlight of history to illuminate the conundrums facing today's healthcare industry.' Roger Bulger, Past President of the Association of Academic Health Centers and Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Multicultural and Minority Medicine

'In a world of medicine so siloed, Stanley Reiser creates a linguistic bridge that allows both patient and practitioner to cross easily – from dialogue to technology, from care to cure. The result is a refreshing perspective on health as we know it today.' John P. Howe III, MD, President and CEO, Project HOPE

'Studies of invention always reveal that machines reinvent us as surely as we invent them. Stanley Reiser offers a breathtakingly intimate portrait of how we've been moulded by our stethoscopes, statistics, X-rays, iron-lungs … how they've recreated us. Forceps, sonograms, and bedside charts have each left us irreversibly altered.' John H. Lienhard, author of The Engines of Our Ingenuity and How Invention Begins

'This is an important historical overview for the public to understand health care, as our technological medicine goes through reform, and for practitioners to appreciate the roots of our diagnostic tests and treatments. Technological Medicine is a must-read for those involved in changing our health care today.' John D. Stoeckle, MD, Professor of Medicine, Emeritus, Harvard Medical School, and Honorary Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital

'Dr Stanley Joel Reiser, a physician, historian and medical ethicist now at George Washington University, has been ruminating on these matters in scholarly circles for years. His latest collection of essays escapes the ivory tower and resonates precisely with today's headlines. Anyone with more than a passing interest in our present health care logjam will be intrigued and enlightened by Dr Reiser's painstaking retracing of its origins.' New York Times

'Reiser should be commended for his demonstration that technological advance throughout recent times has commonalities as well as unintended consequences. The funding of a Patient-Centred Outcomes Research Institute in the recently passed US health care legislation suggests that his conclusions regarding technological advance may find an ear. Reiser calls for a better understanding of medicine that goes beyond technology for its own sake, stronger relationships between patients and medical professionals in widening the vision of medical technology, and informed social policy that is built on this new vision.' Science

printer iconPrinter friendly version AddThis