Sunday, January 10, 2010

From Science to Emotion

Sunday, January 10, 2010
Throughout my undergraduate program medical school so far, I learned about human physiology and (to some extent) disease. I found the material interesting, but nevertheless bookish and abstract. It was intriguing to learn about masses growing in the brain, to read about case studies of patients in far away places and what behavioral deficits it resulted in. For instance the famous cases of HM (seizure patient, surgical intervention, leading to permanent loss of long term memory formation) and Phineas Gage (pole through the frontal lobes leading to a complete change in personality) that have probably been written about in every brain-related textbook in the past few decades.

But reading about these cases is so completely different than approaching a patient. It's so easy to sit in a room, discussing amongst doctors about an interesting brain tumor they find on a patient. But walking up to a human being, sitting down, and telling someone that they have brain cancer is a completely different story. As doctors have a multiplicity of times told me, you learn to separate yourself from the emotions, from the patient. But how do you do that, is it possible to completely distance yourself? I have thus far been lucky not to have seen someone get bad news and am far too early in the game to have given someone bad news, but how do you completely emotionally distance yourself from a situation like that? Back to the brain cancer example, you probably have sat down and given the person and maybe even the family, the worst news that they have ever heard in their lives. How do you not emotionally respond, how do you not empathize with that person?

But by the same token, we can't. Everyday, especially if you work in a hospital, you will be surrounded by people like this. You'll be walking from cancer patients to trauma patients to coma patients etc. If a doctor empathesized and felt the sorrow from every single person they saw, well they probably wouldn't last for too long...


William Dunigan said...

Greetings to one and all: In that most precious name. That name which is above every name, the name: "Jesus"

There's tremendous power in that name. I'd suppose we'll never fully realize all that can truly be accomplished, by us simply calling out that name in true faith.

There's an old, old, gospel song that goes like this: Faith in the Father, faith in the Son, faith in the Holy Spirit, great victories are won. Demons will tremble and sinners will awake, faith in Jehovah will anything shake.

For you who have never come into this realization, if you're reading this, just give him a welcome into your heart and life. You will both feel and see an awesome difference. You will have also purchased the ticket to heaven (by accepting, therefore making him welcome to come into your life. You will also sup from His cup that contains living water. (As did the woman at the well of Bethesda.) John 4:10

Much love,

Your brother in Christ Jesus, who is both our Lord, and Savior.

Anonymous said...

great article! but isn't it HM (ie. not JM)?

Delusion of Reality said...

lol, right you are. my thousands of dollars and years poured into undergrad are slipping away from me :(

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