Love and the Value of Life in Health Care: A Narrative Medicine Case Study in Medical Education.

The Permanente journal

PubMedID: 26901271

Pentiado JA, De Almeida HO, Amorim FF, Facioli AM, Trindade EM, De Almeida KJ. Love and the Value of Life in Health Care: A Narrative Medicine Case Study in Medical Education. Perm J. 2016;20(3):.
This case study is an example of narrative medicine applied to promote self-awareness and develop humanistic contents in medical education. The impact and the human appeal of the narrative lie in the maturity and empathy shown by a student when reporting his dramatic experience during the care given to a newborn (with Patau syndrome and multiple malformations diagnosed at birth) and to her mother. The narrative approach helped the student to be successful in bringing out the meaning behind the story and to position himself from the mother's and newborn's perspective. The student's introspection changed a seemingly scary interaction into a positive experience, overcoming many initial negative emotions, such as fear, disappointment, horror, hopelessness, and insecurity in the face of the unexpected. It is uplifting how the student was strengthened by the power of maternal love to the point of overcoming any remaining feelings of eugenics or rejection. Other important lessons emerging from the case study were the art of listening and the value of silence. This narrative shows how the development of narrative competence can help establish a good physician-patient relationship, because the physician or the student with such competence usually confirms the patient's value and demonstrates concern for them, focusing on what they say and allowing genuine contact to be established, which is necessary for effective therapeutic alliance. The student's interpretations of the meaning of love and value of life inspired him on his reframing process of a medical practice marked by vicarious suffering.