, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 121-137
Date: 12 May 2010

Diagnosis

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The physician’s task is to make sense of the patient’s story in the generally accepted terms and concepts of the scientific world. Yet the two narratives, the physician’s account and the patient’s story out of which it was made, continue to exist side by side. Although the patient’s story is contained in and explicated by the physician’s, it has not been replaced by it. Nor are the two narratives simple translations of each other. They are incommensurable: neither can be comprehended in or satisfactorily reduced to the other’s terms.

The medical interpretation of the patient’s story bears great power for healing. As the location of the malady in the social universe, a diagnosis relieves suffering in itself, as well as in the guidance it provides for therapeutic action. Like all power, it must be exercised with care.

– Kathryn Montgomery Hunter, Doctors’ Stories

Illness and Disease

The art of caring for the sick transcends merely assembling information and doling out treatment, which may no

Based on an article published in the American Journal of Homeopathic Medicine 102: Spring 2009.