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Slow Medicine: The Way to Healing

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  363 ratings  ·  57 reviews
A radical new understanding of how medicine is best practiced, by the award-winning author of God's Hotel

Over the years that Victoria Sweet has been a physician, “healthcare” has replaced medicine, “providers” look at their laptops more than at their patients, and costs keep soaring, all in the ruthless pursuit of efficiency. Yet the remedy that economists and policymakers
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Riverhead Books
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  363 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Riva Sciuto
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bios-memoirs
"Medicine is not only a craft and a science, but an art. It had something unexplainable about it, which was its heart."


In an era in which modern medicine is dominated by doctors typing on their laptops instead of listening to and examining their patients, this book is timely, relevant, and extraordinarily insightful. Victoria Sweet's experience is not only invaluable in making the argument that doctors should return to the traditional practice of medicine; she argues that medicine is just as
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was a Goodreads winner of this book. I have been a healthcare advocate for over 20 years now and I like the author's views on medicine and health which I share, just take the time to know your patients and treat them like human beings. I see the same issues and problems in healthcare too. There is never enough staff for the people who are doing the hands-on care but there is always room for more and more administrative people, somehow those people always get their money and the jobs while we t ...more
Louise Aronson
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Brilliant and subversive. A memoir that also shows how medicine was, what it has become, and what it might be...
Julie Stielstra
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: health-medicine
I loved her previous book, God's Hotel, exploring the care of the most vulnerable in a dying breed of hospital. Intelligent, erudite, insightful, and deeply humane, Sweet tells a slightly more personal story this time, how she came to medicine, how she learned it, and the serious moral, intellectual, ethical and spiritual question her career path led her to investigate. I will confess, my heart sank when she revealed her profound admiration for Carl Jung, the Nazi-sympathizing, dishonest, creati ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Fabulous book! Wow, Vicoria Sweet has lead a very eventful life in the world of medicine. I found it interesting that she orginally wanted to be Jungian psyschologist. It wasn't until after medical school that she would finally decide that she liked be a medical doctor. It shows that people take many different life paths to get to their "thing".

The book is incredibly well written and filled with short stories of her with her patients, doctors, and teachers. These real life moments with her pati
Maureen Grigsby
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting memoir of a career in Medicine. Victoria Sweet was always looking for a path that kept her focused on the patient, their environment, and the strength of the body to heal itself. Along the way, she used traditional modern medicine, various homeopathic approaches, and the teachings of Hildegard of Bingen. Fascinating!
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Slow Medicine" is the best non-fiction book I've read in many years. It's also one of the first books I haven't rushed to finish in the final chapters; instead, I savored every page, expecting Dr. Sweet's next transition to lead down another fascinating path of her particular journey through medical school, internships and residencies with a variety of populations and within diverse cultural settings. Her interest and eventual disinterest in psychiatry, then her move toward studying Hildegard, ...more
Sara Hagen
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the fascinating history of the author's journey as a physician and the development of her ideas about how taking one's time can be far superior to the computer-driven Fast Medicine approach that is so common today.
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I do love reading Victoria Sweet; her style is gentle and direct. Every one of the stories of how Sweet became the doctor she is was insightful, humble, and amazing. Yet the book overall seemed mostly a rehashing of what she had already said in _God's Hotel_.

She does have perceptive and insightful things to say, as always, about the doctor-patient relationship. Of an older Austrian woman, tough, who insists on making a difficult trip to the clinic for a minor scrape to her knee: "Why did you co
Schuyler Wallace
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it

For me, perhaps the most perceptive moment of Dr. Victoria Sweet’s “Slow Medicine” was her definition of fast and slow and how the words, normally applied to food, relate to medicine. I finally got the drift of her book when I understood her adept transference of the terms. Fast, she states, implies modernity, excitement, and efficiency as opposed to slow --- behind the times, lumbering, and inefficient. At first glance, slow seems to be something undesirable.

But years of rush and pressure, of w
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Victoria Sweet's career might have been defined by the usual medical doctor career, but she took it off the tracks. Not once, but several times, and those diversions made her a different kind of doctor. I loved her courage in listening to the discrepancies her experience exposed and in pursuing the answers to those discrepancies.

She speaks of models: the modern medical model of he body as machine; the medieval model of the body as plant. Neither one is sufficient for treating sick people.
She i
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Victoria Sweet is a doctor who after decades in medicine has written about her reflections on the sort of medicine she has practiced over the years. With more knowledge, more diagnostic tests available and more medications to prescribe, clinicians are often limited to spending 15 minutes to sort out their patients ails. Instead Dr Sweet looks at the time when slow medicine is able to assist patients, to help them heal and get better.

As well as sharing her own story, she starts the story by talki
Barbara P
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Victoria Sweet has written a beautiful and unique book addressing the present health care "system" in the United States. She is a story teller in the best sense. She tells her journey through medicine, beginning with her youth, medical school, residency, fellow and on and on in various jobs. As she works, cares and is a healer, every chapter brings a stunning glimpse behind the scenes of medicine.
She has learned and lived medicine over the course of her remarkable career. She helped me have hop
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Sweet speak at our local library, and she is just as warm and wise in person as she comes across in her entertaining and insightful book. I loved her first book, "God's Hotel," and this follow-up is just as intelligent and empathetic . This is a book I want to give to my primary care physician and every other doctor I know. She recommends taking control of medicine away from the marketers and the statisticians and the business managers and returning it to healer ...more
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Though when I purchased the book I was looking for more of a critique on the health industry and found this to be more memoir style - I really enjoyed stepping into the life and path of a doctor. The stories were well told and it was fun to listen to her tell it in her own voice (audiobooked this one). I listened to it right before bed and it was very effective in taking me out of my own life and into her shoes. She sounded like a very smart and dedicated and caring physician. I liked her parall ...more
Kristin Butler
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wish all doctors were like Dr. Sweet. In the era of electronic medical records, managed care and pharmacy benefits managers, healthcare is more big business than the craft of healing. Our healthcare system in the U.S. is so fractured, broken and focused on the bottom line , who are we even attracting anymore to the field of medicine? Probably not the old school healer like Dr. Sweet, but more the young intellectual with an expectation that specialists in the allopathic medical field are in the t ...more
Dianne J.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Slow Medicine’s author Dr. Victoria Sweet is the doctor we all should have when we are ill or at least have a doctor with her philosophy on what a doctor should be; someone who sees the patient as a whole person not a compartmentalized group of mechanical parts to fix.

Sweet views medicine as a craft, a science and an art as she explains in chapter 12. She brings together the new technologies of “Fast Medicine” with the old-world craft of “Slow Medicine” and gradually gets to the root of Hildega
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the author's first book -God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine. In Slow Medicine she develops her philosophy of medicine in more detail, and it includes modern techniques and drugs as well as older and proven ways of doing things. Modern medicine seems to increasingly rely on computer models and there is less time for doctors to examine patients and spend time with them. Health care has often become a commodity instead of a process of healing. I app ...more
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
While I enjoyed learning about Sweet's career in medicine and how she came to her philosophy about the practice of medicine, I found some of the book duplicative of her other title, God's Hotel. That being said, overall I found it interesting and I am cautiously optimistic about the state of medicine. Who wouldn't want a doctor like Victoria Sweet.

Yet I kept putting the book down (figuratively since I was reading my library's eBook and it kept expiring on me) which leads me to conclude that I wa
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book by Victoria Sweet. One could only hope that her vision of medical care would be practiced universally. I have an abundance of medical problems and have been in the "health care system" for decades, and am well aware of the changes in the medical model over the years. I have been very fortunate to find wonderful care. I hope Dr. Sweet continues writing so as to provide help and hope for all of us.
Rebecca Tversky
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-buy
Very few books in a lifetime speak to our experience, expertise and vocation like this one did for me. It reinforced my passion for integrating the fast technological breakthroughs into the slow eternal truths to raise the level of craft to art. Dr. Sweet revels in learning and understanding the way few others I've encountered have done, both grounding me in day to day work and reinvigorating my dreams for a better world.
Joanne Mcleod
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After reading this book, I now believe this should be required reading for every physician and medical student. Keeping in mind, as Victoria Sweet reiterates throughout her book, that Slow and Fast Medicine do not exclude each other, but can be integrated into the best form of healing.
There are two quotes that I particularly like:
"And I did less and less with my patients, and they got better and better."

"It signifies a Way - a way of seeing, doing, and being."
Geri Koeppel
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Sweet's writing flows smoothly and her ideas presented so clearly that it's difficult to believe she was trained as a physician and not a journalist. Her tales of her patients and their care are fascinating, but her ideas about how health care should work are the meat here, and they make so much sense it is stunning that they're the exception rather than the rule. But that's what the commodification of health care has caused.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book as much as I loved “God’s Hotel.” Now proud to say I have met the author and have both books signed by her sitting on my shelf.
I feel as if Dr. Sweet has bestowed a way of seeing as a patient, even to the point of being empowered. Doctors don’t and can’t know everything about us, but we know about ourselves and it’s our job to communicate that with them. Find one who will listen—really listen—and make the relationship a partnership.
Julie Kortum
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On a personal note, during my occupational therapy internship, I lived in one of the turrets of Laguna Honda. All she describes of that hospital feels familiar and accurate. And Dr McCullough, mentioned in the acknowledgement, who wrote “My Mother Your Mother” was a slow medicine leader to me and he spoke to our conference.
Veena Singh
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not as groundbreaking as her first book, but sort of a continuation of that thought process. Healthcare and practicing medicine are two different things and the trajectory in the US is costing us more, and providing less "care". Worth a read even if you are not in the healthcare field because quite frankly, some day you will be a patient!
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Amazing woman, amazing thinker. For some reason, Slow Medicine was a slow read for me, but I still gave it four stars for the information it contained. Well worth reading. An excellent explanation--and indictment--about how "healthcare" is administered today, and how things evolved to make the mess we're in.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
While this book turned out to be more autobiographical than I anticipated, Dr. Sweet's storytelling kept me turning the pages. Like other professions, medicine has been captured by the tyranny of metrics, making what is easily measured important. Her book is an important lesson in taking a step back and realizing that modern management with all its measurement tools is not omnipotent.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I so appreciated Sweet's first book, "God's Hotel," and was really looking forward to "Slow Medicine." While I didn't know it, I think I was looking for answers, for a way to incorporate real and tangible plans using the sensibilities of slow medicine.

This is a good book about a good doctor (and I wish she were mine!) but it's more memoir than action plan.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked this book almost as much as Sweet's absolutely wonderful "God's Hotel". She covers some of the same ground here, again weaving her amazing life experiences, as a clearly brilliant physician, with her thoughts on where medicine has been and where it must go. Her books should be required reading for everyone in health care- perhaps particularly administrators.
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