Examine the patient as if she’s your mother
- By: Jonny Martell
“No,” I lied to the consultant, “I have no questions.” In fact I wanted him and the assembled students, bar myself, out of the room. The teaching session was over and the questions I had could wait. The 60 year old woman before us had had a stroke a little more than a day before. A left hander, she had left sided hemiplegia and considerable global dysphasia. The series of neurological examinations she had just undergone had brought home to her how much of her former self she had lost. She was tired and no doubt a little distressed. Also she was my mother.
There is something captivating albeit chilling in observing for the first time someone with severe neurological impairments. It is akin to the pastiche of malfunctioning robots in films; only the ghost has left the machine. Language and movement are defining characteristics of our humanity, and we