Tag Archives: Medicine

Cure for Inhumane Doctors: Literature

“Traditional medical training, focused on bioscience, is […] failing to provide the human, emotional and practical skills doctors need to deal with everyday tragedy, let alone disasters […] “One comes out not knowing how to deal with real-life situations that don’t necessarily require a written prescription.  I believe a number of medical schools around the world might be churning out ‘robots’ with few other human skills.”

“Doctors should learn in a culture that teaches them to recognise and acknowledge human fear, rage, hope, ambivalence, finitude and courage, to be open rather than closed and to flourish in uncertainty rather than the illusion of facts. The arts illuminate this view, not science.”

“80% of diagnoses depend on the patient’s story, and studying poetry or literature can enhance [medical] students’ narrative competence and improve their ability to relate to different cultures and groups.”

From: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/19/studying-arts-literature-doctors-humane-competent-mid-staffs

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Reading and Healing

“Story-telling has long held a place of prominence in American culture, but only recently has come to be viewed as a having a role in the practice of American medicine … anthropologists, artists, writers, psychologists, physicians and historians … explore the role of stories in medicine and healing.”

“Narrative is gaining recognition in medical schools”.

“Being able to collect better stories from patients helps physicians become better practitioners … Stories are how we get to know each other and how we make sense of our world. When patients read stories about others whose experiences are similar to their own, they know they are not alone.”

From: phys.org

Meet Dr. Shakespeare

“Students may begin their medical school careers riding on a cloud of altruism and goodwill, but it’s not long before the grueling schedule, avalanche of new vocabulary and stubborn patients can take a toll.

To return the student brain to a state of balance, David Watts, MD, UCSF professor of clinical medicine, argues that a healthy dose of literature — poems and stories, specifically — be a core part of the student experience.

It may seem counter-intuitive: Adding more work to an already-loaded academic schedule seems like a recipe for disaster. But in an article titled “Cure for the Common Cold” published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, Watts says that poems and stories — even just a few a week — can show students the richness of human relationships. In other words, imaginative literature can reignite the compassionate spark that spurred students toward the healing arts in the first place, according to Watts.”

From: http://www.healthcanal.com/mental-health-behavior/33454-Treat-Emotional-Toll-Medical-School-Physician-Prescribes-Shakespeare.html

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Why spies hang around toilets

“Deep inside the Central Intelligence Agency is a unit dedicated to uncovering the true physical and mental states of world leaders.  The Medical and Psychological Assessment Cell, or MPAC, employs or consults physicians, sociologists, political scientists, and cultural anthropologists to examine the conditions of top officials.

Agents will collect medical waste items, which can yield important information about someone’s medical condition.  

“No discarded bandage or something like a syringe should be discounted because you can draw DNA and blood types and you can do some examination on the contents of even a discarded band-aid to try to determine perhaps what’s wrong with that person. So, as unseemly as that may sound, this is what intelligence services do”.

Then there are sort of apocryphal stories, which probably have some truth to it, that they have been able to surreptitiously obtain bodily fluids. And there are sort of several well-known examples of diverting plumbing in [the presidential guest residence] Blair House, or other places abroad where they are able to obtain stool and urine samples.”

More: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Spies-Track-Physical-Illnesses-of-Foreign-Leaders-130222673.html

Health espionage

“The Central Intelligence Agency has a Medical and Psychological Assessment Cell. It employs or consults with doctors, sociologists, political scientists and cultural anthropologists to examine the conditions of top officials.

In the late fifties and early nineteen sixties, the CIA decided that they had expertise to look more carefully and in a more rigorous, analytical way at the health of foreign leaders in order to help give policy makers some forewarning of a transition in a government, stability of foreign governments, and also looking for potential points of diplomatic leverage.

The concern is not just the illness, it’s also the medication that people take while they are ill and how that can compromise their decision-making ability, cognitively and intellectually. So they don’t make the same kind of decisions, their decisions may not be as predictable. They certainly may not be as, quote unquote, rational.

It can be decisively important because it can really change the stability of governments, particularly in authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, where there’s really a limited number of people who have powerful decision-making authority.”

More: http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/Medical-Spies-Keep-Watch-on-Leaders-130699748.html