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The Empathy Exams

Tue, 12/05/2017 - 10:30pm

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Leslie Jamison gets a job as a medical actor. She plays complex characters, women who are shy or embarrassed, or women who distrust doctors. Leslie assesses the medical students who interact with her. Do they wash their hands before the exam? Do the students ask important questions? Do they have empathy for their patients? The first essay of [a:Leslie Jamison]'s book, The [t:Empathy Exams], offers a view into a hidden world. How are doctors trained to empathize with patients? What does empathy mean to doctors? What does empathy mean to patients?

In her other essays, Jamison explores the idea of pain. How do people deal with chronic pain? Do people believe one another about their pain? How do doctors respond to pain? What kind of pain is "most important" or most recognized by society?

Jamison writes with tenderness and empathy about people in distress. The [t:Empathy Exams] is a beautiful portrait of agony in America that will keep you awake at night pondering the philosophy of pain.

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