As medical science progresses, a tension has developed between the art of medicine, which deals with patients as individual persons, and the science itself, which focuses on the objective pathology.This tension is furthered as medicine identifies itself increasingly with science. To explore the consequences of this unbalanced identification, and the strain it places on the physician-patient relationship, this article examines the thought of Walker Percy, and in particular his novel The Second Coming. In this novel, Percy, a physician by training, presents a case of a patient suffering at the hands of medicine-turned-reductionist. The novel highlights the breakdown of communication between physician and patient within modern medicine, and raises important questions about how to best understand, and thereby preserve, medicine's true art.


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pp. 579-592
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