For Stanford physician and author Abraham Verghese, MD, the language of medicine is as equally important as the skills used in diagnosing and treating patients. Last September, Verghese spoke at the TEDMED conference in San Francisco, which was co-sponsored by Stanford Medicine, and took attendees on an exploration of the words, particularly the metaphors, we use in describing the body and its conditions.
TEDMED released a video of his presentation today and in the talk Verghese notes the strange lack of new medical metaphors. He encourages patients and health-care providers to invent their own in an effort to narrow the communication gap. “I want to invite you to name things after yourself,” he says in the video. “Go ahead! Why not?”
Ready to accept the challenge? Create your own medical metaphors and share them via Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels using the hashtag #MyMedicalMetaphor. Verghese will choose his three favorites next week, and if your metaphor is selected, TEDMED will send you a copy of his book Cutting for Stone.
TEDMED 2015 will be held in Palm Springs November 18-20.
Previously: “Abraham Verghese: A saintliness in so many of my patients,” Abraham Verghese discusses stealing metaphors and the language of medicine at TEDMED and Abraham Verghese urges Stanford grads to always remember the heritage and rituals of medicine