By Susan P. Mattern
Galen is an important health care provider of the Roman imperial period. a lot of his theories and practices have been the root for clinical wisdom for hundreds of years after his loss of life and a few practices—like checking a patient’s pulse—are nonetheless used at the present time. He additionally left an enormous corpus of writings which makes up a whole one-eighth of all surviving historic Greek literature. via her readings of thousands of Galen’s case histories, Susan P. Mattern offers the 1st systematic research of Galen’s scientific perform.
Galen’s sufferer narratives remove darkness from attention-grabbing interaction one of the craft of therapeutic, social category, expert festival, ethnicity, and gender. Mattern describes the general public, aggressive, and masculine nature of drugs one of the city elite and analyzes the connection among medical perform and gear within the Roman family. She additionally unearths that even supposing Galen is mostly perceived as self-absorbed and self-promoting, his writings exhibit him as delicate to the patient’s heritage, indicators, perceptions, or even phrases.
Examining his expert interactions within the context of the area within which he lived and practiced, Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing offers a clean viewpoint on a foundational determine in drugs and beneficial perception into how medical professionals considered their sufferers and their perform within the historic world.
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Additional info for Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing
30 Loeb). G. For some the stomach is inﬂated (with gas) when they have sex, as for Damnagoras (Epid. 236 Loeb). In these cases, it is a reasonable guess that the audience knew the stories the author refers to; that is, the stories circulated separately as part of a general store of knowledge. It is easy to speculate that they circulated in oral as well as in written form and that periodically they were gathered together and joined with examples from the author’s own practice to form the collections that we have.
Although Galen knows that his treatises will circulate beyond this group, and he keeps this in mind as he writes, none of his works is speciﬁcally addressed to, or written for, a wider public that might include people of substantially diﬀerent social background. It is likely that he imagined his wider public as composed of people like the “friends and companions” who are the im- The Stories in Context 27 mediate audience for all of his books. Though Galen interacts with people of all classes, his perspective is that of the sociocultural elite among whom he lived and worked.
Narrative and medicine Despite science’s traditional disdain for the anecdote, storytelling plays a crucial role in medicine, even (or perhaps especially) today. Some medical stories do the moral work of addressing the human, psychological dimensions of illness and healing. 94 Also, a surprising amount of medical knowledge is communicated in narrative form: in the ﬁrst place, because physicians depend on the patient’s own narrative, or “history,” for clinical information. “Rounds,” in which residents and medical students present speciﬁc cases, are fundamental in 28 Galen and the Rhetoric of Healing medical education; patient records and published case studies preserve other forms of clinical narrative.