Thursday Review: “Suffering and the Goals of Medicine”

We have a consciously dualistic view of ourselves. The mind and the body are separate things. One is subjective, the other is objective. One is a source of psychological “suffering” and the other is a source of biomedical “pain”.

If this is true, how can healthcare professionals—specifically those in medical fields—have any responsibility to their patients as human beings, and not just as complicated biomedical machinery?

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Thursday Review: “Role of narrative-based medicine in proper patient assessment”

Pain management in cancer patients is a good opportunity to examine how medicine can be both humane and effective,1 writes Giovanni Rosti.

Rosti constantly balances medicine’s outcomes with its humanity. A medical outcome can easily skew towards numbers and raw data. That emphasis can quickly become efficacy to the point of ruthlessness. Medicine’s humanity constantly reminds us that individuals are being treated, and not just patients.

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Thursday Review: “Taking Suffering Seriously: A New Role for the Medical Case History”

The first purpose of clinical medicine, Dr. William J. Donnelly quotes, is to relieve human suffering.1 Why, then, does the education and practice of mainstream medicine say almost nothing about patient suffering, other than pain relief?
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Thursday Review: “The Meaning Of Healing: Transcending Suffering”

I enjoy work like Thomas R. Egnew’s article, published in The Annals of Family Medicine. Egnew asks a simple but profound question, and the answers open up new avenues for understanding the role storytelling plays in a medical relationship.

If healing is a part of medicine, why is there no operational definition of healing, nor … any explanation of its mechanisms?
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