logoThe People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1205: How Do Patients’ Stories Shape Their Care?

Doctors may need to listen to patients' stories more closely when the illness is complex. That attention can help with diagnosis and build trust.
Doctor listening to patient with concentration, sitting at desk in office.
Current time

How Do Patients’ Stories Shape Their Care?

0% played0% buffered
Duration

How do doctors figure out what is wrong with a person and how they can be treated effectively? Traditionally, medicine has put great emphasis on the patient’s history, which usually means the patient has to tell a story. What hurts? When did it start? What happened next? One drawback of the way medicine is currently practiced is that doctors don’t feel they have the time to listen to patients’ stories all the way through. But that may be necessary to get the complete overview they need.

(You might be interested in the article published this week in JAMA, by Dr. Adeline Goss, a former public radio reporter: “How Becoming a Doctor Made Me a Worse Listener.”)

Narrative Medicine and the Value of Patients’ Stories:

Our guest today, Dr. Sonia Rapaport, practices holistic medicine. She treats medically complex patients with undiagnosed or hard-to-treat conditions. Listening to their stories is crucial to figuring out what may be wrong with them and helping them see how they can live more fully even if they can’t be completely cured.

Find out how narrative medicine can be integrated with a data-based medical framework. Do older healing traditions play a role in helping patients recover? In addition, what does it mean to truly listen to patients’ stories and help them change the narrative? Do they feel better after they embrace the new narrative? Dr. Rapaport describes the key principles she uses in addressing her patients’ suffering.

This Week’s Guest:

Sonia Rapaport, MD, is a functional and integrative medicine physician whose practice, Haven Medical in Chapel Hill, NC, focuses on environmentally acquired illnesses. She treats medically complex patients with undiagnosed illnesses and complex disorders such as mold illness, Lyme disease, mast cell activation syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, EDS and POTS. She’s the founding past president of the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness. Dr. Rapaport has an MFA in creative writing and has lectured nationally on narrative medicine. She’s also an expert on tea and health and a certified tea sommelier.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Download the mp3

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
4.3- 12 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 2 comments
Comments
Add your comment

When I was telling my doc I was very fatigued and something must be horribly wrong, she didn’t seem concerned even though I was emphatic. When I started giving specifics : I am afraid to drive because I can barely keep my eyes open after ten minutes behind the wheel; I park at the grocery store and sleep for half an hour in my car then decide I still don’t have the energy to get out and do my shopping–then she started taking my condition seriously.

In my experience, in the UK, doctors do not have time to listen to much and are often too stressed, especially now.

Patients feel ignored and frustrated.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^