Article ID: CBB582501959

When Human Touch Makes the Difference. The Legacy of Charles West (1816-1898), Pediatrics Pioneer (2017)


The life and writings of Charles West - the bicentenary of whose birth falls this year (2016) - offer much food for thought about the current debate on the need for more “human touch” by medical and other healthcare professionals. This is the right moment to rediscover the father of British pediatrics and founder of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, as a possible role model about such a relevant topic. Charles West’s caring attitude towards the sick, especially the little ones, was not merely a vaguely sympathetic approach. From the beginning of his career – while equipping himself with unusual scientific skills (thanks to a very precocious international experience) - West worked out a complete system of dedication to the patient concerning time, gestures, tone of voice, language, appropriate use of diagnostic tools and therapeutic remedies, sensitiveness, communication, material environment… This contribution tries to explore his early writings to find out relevant indications of such a system, which finally proves to be perfectly suited to our times, too.

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Authors & Contributors
Malatesta, Maria
Betta, Emmanuel
Michele Riva
Ranveer S. Sanghera
Micucci, Federica E.
Festi, Davide
Medicina Historica
Social History of Medicine
Journal of Medical Biography
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Medical History
Oxford University Press
McGill-Queen's University Press
University of Southern California
Hospitals and clinics
Doctor-patient relationships
Physicians; doctors
Medicine and society
Still, George Frederic
Pasta, Giuseppe
West, Charles
Statham, Sherard Freeman
Down, John Langdon Haydon
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
21st century
20th century, early
Early modern
London (England)
Great Britain
United Kingdom
Zurich (Switzerland)

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