Literary narrative in medical practice

M. Kottow, A. Kottow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally accepted that the practice of medicine could be improved by turning to the humanities in general, and to narrative and text interpretation in particular. Neverthless, there is hardly any agreement as to the nature of the clinical text, whether it be the patient's narrative that needs to be richly understood, or the patient as patient who must be both personally and clinically deciphered. We suggest that literary narratives depicting medical situations might serve as testimonials of the way medicine has or is being practised in a variety of social settings, and of the ways patients experience disease and medical care. By reading these texts, health care professionals could compare the situations and values involved in such narratives with current medical practices, thus perceiving how clinical encounters have changed and improved or, perhaps, continue to carry a burden of past flaws.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-44
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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