The Communication Panacea: Pediatrics and General Semantics
by Eva Berger and Isaac Berger
The Communication Panacea: Pediatrics and General Semantics by Eva and Isaac Berger provides a most interesting and relevant examination of the profound, and often dangerous, influences that human communication practices have on health incomes. The book, firmly grounded in the theory of General Semantics, describes the power of language use in shaping interpretations of reality and responses to health care. While grounded in relevant theory, this book is not a dry academic treatise. It provides vivid analyses of real health care cases, demonstrating how communication influences both the delivery of care and responses to health care. The book suggests best communication strategies for health care providers and consumers to achieve desired health outcomes. The authors encourage strategic use of communication that empowers consumers to take charge of their health, that promotes cooperation in the delivery of care, and that facilitates informed health decision-making. I recommend this fascinating book for health care providers, consumers, and policy makers to help them utilize communication to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care.
– Gary L. Kreps
University Distinguished Professor
Director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication
George Mason University
Writing in the tradition of Neil Postman, Ivan Illich, and Susan Sontag, this collaboration between a doctor of philosophy and a doctor of medicine combines an innovative theoretical approach with the stories of eight patients shared not as “case-studies,” but as key-moments to show how vital it is to change our mentality and our language when addressing the idea of illness itself.
– Lance Strate
Professor of Communication and Media Studies
The Communication Panacea fills a major gap in the study of the modern doctor-patient relationship, applying the principles of General Semantics to the too often uncanny communicative processes affecting the way patients perceive their illness, as well as their response to it. The idea of a “personalized semantic medicine,” brilliantly and rigorously discussed in this book, is suggested as a truly convincing strategy to regain focus on the patient within (and in spite of) the increasingly complex medical (corporate-like) environment.
Berger and Berger combine a substantial innovative theoretical approach with the stories of eight patients shared not as “case-studies,” but as key-moments to show how vital it is to change our mentality (as well as our language) when addressing the idea of illness itself. They challenge us to think of medicine as art and not as war; a linguistic and a conceptual shift which could impove the quality of many patients and doctor[s] alike.
– Elena Lamberti
Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
University of Bologna
About the Authors
Eva Berger is a Professor of Communication at the School of Media Studies of COMAS (College of Management Academic Studies) in Israel where she was Dean (2006-2012). Dr. Berger is member of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of General Semantics (since 2009) and of ETC.: A Review of General Semantics (since 2008). She is member of the Editorial Board of Giluy Daat: A Multidisciplinary Journal on Education, Society and Culture (since 2011) and was member of the Editorial Board of EME: Explorations in Media Ecology (2005-2014). She has held many public positions and is active in numerous organizations in Israel: She was member of the search committee for candidates for the position of Chair of the Council for Cable and Satellite Communications (appointed in 2013 by the Minister of Communication); Chair of the Board of Women in the Picture (an organization for the advancement of women in the visual arts); member of the Israel Press Council (2011-2013) and of the Israeli Film Board (2000-2006). She is member of the board of IPI (Israel Peace Initiative, since 2011). Eva is periodically invited as guest commentator on Israel’s newspapers and public and private radio and television stations; she is the author of programs for the teaching of media in Israel’s high schools; and has published numerous academic articles and book chapters on varying topics including war photojournalism; advertising; language, metaphor and narrative; and media and technology. Eva is married and has two sons.
Isaac Berger studied medicine at UNAM–National University of Mexico in Mexico City (1955-1961). He did his internship as well as his residency in Pediatrics at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago and was research fellow in neonatology there. In 1965, he returned to his country of origin — Mexico — where along with his private practice throughout the years, he was instructor of postgraduate courses in Pediatrics at Juarez Hospital; assistant lecturer in Pediatrics at UNAM (National University of Mexico); lecturer in Pediatrics at the School of Nursing as well as at the residency program of American British Cowdray Hospital in Mexico City; and he taught neonatology at Hospital Infantil Privado where he was physician in charge of Medical Education. In 1977 Dr. Berger moved with his family to Israel where he became Head of the Pediatric Outpatient Department of Meir General Hospital in the city of Kfar Saba, and later Head of Pediatric Ambulatory Services (including Emergency Room, Clinics, Day Hospital Unit, and Child Development Unit). Isaac coauthored numerous articles and chapters in books. He retired from the hospital in 2003 and aside from his still active private practice he is medical advisor to a large child development center in Israel. Isaac is married and has five daughters and nine grandchildren.
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146 pp. ISBN 0986076481. 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches.