Any serious illness is a medical event, but it is lived in narrative terms. As religion has lost ground to secularism and the split between body and soul has come to feel metaphoric rather than literal, some people have rooted themselves in scientific explanations of the world, while others seek truth in art, literature or even political idealism. Students bifurcate early, pursuing a medical track or a literary/humanist one. It is as though we belong to different races. William Osler, writing in the late 19th century, observed: “It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” We have not much heeded his call.
Monday, April 25, 2016
… ‘Literature about medicine may be all that can save us’ | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)