Letter to the Editor
Thank you for your truly excellent special report in January, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? The Magic of Narrative Medicine in the ED.” (EMN 2017;39:20; http://bit.ly/2j4yl2M.)
Medicine enjoys a long and proud tradition of benefitting from valuable insights from physician-writers, -artists, -social scientists, -ethicists, -philosophers, and others in the broadly inclusive category of “medical humanitarians.” It's wonderful to see that view explored and highlighted in EMN's pages.
I know the physician-writer roster best. Dr. Rita Charon's quote from your article, “With creativity comes discovery” captures the idea that the collected wisdom of physicians like Drs. Anton Chekov, Richard Selzer, Atul Gawande, Edwin Leap, Danielle Ofri, Abraham Verghese, William Carlos Williams, and many others serves to inform medical decision-making, enhance our sensitivity, and sharpen our perceptions.
For those interested in further exploring narrative medicine and the medical humanities in the ED, I'd like to offer an EM-specific resource: ACEP's Medical Humanities Section. (https://www.acep.org/humanities/.) I was fortunate enough to conceive and help found this section of the college in 2004. It provides a forum for those with special interests in fine arts, literature, humanities research, and social sciences to explore the application of these areas to emergency medicine.
We're all listeners of, participants in, and shapers of the stories told to us daily in the ED. Narrative medicine (and the entire sweep of medical humanities) helps us keep that concept firmly in mind.
My sincere thanks, once again, for Gina Shaw's excellent article on narrative medicine in the ED.
Michael D. Burg, MD