Restoring Our Humanity: Our Intention to Heal


Fred Griffin, MD

Spring 2006 - Volume 10 Number 1

Being a doctor can be such a lonely place to inhabit. Our task-oriented approaches to patient care can all too often reduce us to feeling more like two-dimensional characters in someone else's story than three- and four-dimensional people in our own meaningful lives. Never has there been a time in the history of medicine when physicians have had a greater need to find meaning in what they do. When we translate clinical experience into written narratives, we bring to life the physician-patient relationships in which we live. The act of writing helps us to restore our own humanity, and the act of seeing ourselves with our patients on the written page reminds us of what led most of us into medicine in the first place. These stories both humanize the physician-patient encounter and make physicians feel more like the human beings they are than the "human-doings" they sometimes become. And it is only through being more fully human ourselves that we may convey convincingly to patients our intention to heal.

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