Is the pen mightier than the scalpel?
What possible role could poetry and creative writing play in modern day medicine? James C Thomas explores
- By: James C Thomas
Poetry is ordinary language raised to the N th power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.
Paul Engle (1908-91), US poet and writer
Nowadays, medicine is becoming an exclusively objective arena, full of evidence based research and hard facts. And rightly so. Patients need doctors who can quickly and accurately make a diagnosis and effectively treat illness. What possible place could poetry have in medicine-perhaps aside from a little light bedtime reading? Poetry is just for English students, right? Wrong. Doctors and patients alike are now starting to realise the vast benefits that poetry and creative writing can bring to health care as a whole.
Creative writing and poetry can be extremely subjective. They can't form a diagnosis. They can't detect tachycardia. And they certainly can't do an appendectomy. But they still can play a key