At the opening session of this year’s Examined Life Conference, a genetics specialist read a reflection about a difficult case. Her writing told us about her quest to diagnose a child’s disease no one else had been able to figure out, and how her own mental health suffered in the process.
In the end, she reflected, it wasn’t a brilliant medical insight that changed the lives of the patients’ family. It was a few minutes alone with the child’s mother, who confessed the care of her severely disabled child was becoming too much to bear. After finishing reading her piece, she thanked us in turn for the chance to be heard. The simple fact she told us about the encounter kept coming back to me: “So I sat and listened.”
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