Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Autopathography: the patient's tale

Autopathography: the patient's tale : "The case history was invented by Hippocrates. Since then medical practice has been straitjacketed by its artificiality, to the detriment of the patient's own narrative. But patients have found ways of expressing themselves other than by talking to their doctors. Over the past two years I have been collecting a bibliography of book length autobiographical medical narratives, each completely or largely devoted to the writer's personal experience of drug use or illness. My growing list currently runs to about 270 titles. " Trust doctors to coin long words to describe a simple story written by the patients ! "Autopathographies are 'medical confessionals,' but I prefer to call them 'patient's tales'---or, as Kipling might have put it, 'plain tales from the ill.' You don't need to write a book about your illness, but keeping a diary will help you unburden yourself ! These books can serve as useful models !

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