Friday, August 12, 2011

Doctor becomes patient and describes pain


http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/do-patients-have-the-toughest-job-in-medicine/

In this episode of how the medical world turns, a doctor endures a hideously mangled broken leg and gets some insights into patienthood.

One thing he mentions is that it is tricky to describe pain, much less assign it a number. The few times I have been asked to do this, for some reason, my subconscious did spit a number into my head. He is talking about chronic versus time-of-injury pain, though.

One doctor, a psychiatrist at the University of Buffalo (NY) is trying to use ontology to describe pain better. Ontology is the philosophy of being.

Ooo—getting deep here.

People have different levels of vocab, imagination, culture—it’s all over the place.

Ontologists distinguish between categories…using computers.

This explanation went on a while, but I did not quite grasp how it would boil down commonality between a Ghurka’s “ouch” and a five-year-old’s scream.

Use your words, doc!

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