Humanities Moments

Using Language to Humanize Healthcare

Image of Sir William Osler
In this video, Dr. Michael Stanley celebrates a philosophy of healthcare that sees patients as more than the sum of their medical symptoms, drawing from the rich legacies of philosophy, mythology, and literature to understand individuals and their circumstances. Sir William Osler, one of the earliest proponents of such logic, articulates the manner in which the hospital can so often become a stage for the drama of interdependent human existence: "The comedy, too, of life will be spread before you, and nobody laughs more often than the doctor at the pranks Puck plays upon the Titanias and the Bottoms among his patients. The humorous side is really almost as frequently turned towards him as the tragic.... yet it is an unpardonable mistake to go about among patients with a long face."

In reflecting upon the influence of Osler and other mentors, Dr. Stanley suggests that a humanistic perspective plays a key role in helping doctors to be personally engaged in fostering interpersonal recognition and community through their work.

Title

Using Language to Humanize Healthcare

Description

In this video, Dr. Michael Stanley celebrates a philosophy of healthcare that sees patients as more than the sum of their medical symptoms, drawing from the rich legacies of philosophy, mythology, and literature to understand individuals and their circumstances. Sir William Osler, one of the earliest proponents of such logic, articulates the manner in which the hospital can so often become a stage for the drama of interdependent human existence: "The comedy, too, of life will be spread before you, and nobody laughs more often than the doctor at the pranks Puck plays upon the Titanias and the Bottoms among his patients. The humorous side is really almost as frequently turned towards him as the tragic.... yet it is an unpardonable mistake to go about among patients with a long face."

In reflecting upon the influence of Osler and other mentors, Dr. Stanley suggests that a humanistic perspective plays a key role in helping doctors to be personally engaged in fostering interpersonal recognition and community through their work.

Identifier

using-language-to-humanize-healthcare