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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Why Doctors need Stories

By Peter D. Kramer
The New York Times
Originally published October 18, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

I have long felt isolated in this position, embracing stories, which is why I warm to the possibility that the vignette is making a comeback. This summer, Oxford University Press began publishing a journal devoted to case reports. And this month, in an unusual move, the New England Journal of Medicine, the field’s bellwether, opened an issue with a case history involving a troubled mother, daughter and grandson. The contributors write: “Data are important, of course, but numbers sometimes imply an order to what is happening that can be misleading. Stories are better at capturing a different type of ‘big picture.’ ”

Stories capture small pictures, too. I’m thinking of the anxious older man given Zoloft. That narrative has power.

The entire article is here.