Healing the overwhelmed physician
BOSTON — DURING an 1817 visit to Florence, the French author Marie-Henri Beyle, known by the pen name Stendhal, was seized by palpitations, dizziness and a feeling of being overwhelmed by the abundance of great art surrounding him; an Italian psychiatrist later coined the term Stendhal syndrome to describe this phenomenon. We physicians are susceptible to a kind of medical Stendhal syndrome as we confront the voluminous evidence about the clinical choices we face every day. It would take dozens of hours each week for a conscientious primary care doctor to read everything he or she needed in order to stay current — a dizzying and impractical prospect.
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