PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – I am sure it has been around for as long as doctors have been seeing patients, but like many things today it has been given a name. Narrative medicine is the way some are describing the use of words — often the well written word — to describe the complex and highly emotional events that surround illness and the treatment of disease.

Unlike a typical doctors note or discharge summary, narrative medicine is designed to tap into the complex relationships that can occur as well as the effect of treatment – treatment that works and treatment that fails.

Narrative may be a reflection of the fact that medical schools are accepting more students from a wide variety of backgrounds but I see it as a plus. One of the best ways people with cancer or heart disease or any other condition can learn about the road they are traveling is by reading and learning from the experience of others.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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