Ayesha Ahmad: ‘Medicine and Metaphors; Writing from the heart’

Since the time of Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician, who is regarded as the “Father of Medicine,” medicine and the humanities have been interwined with all human beings in all cultures through a shared and common desire to heal.

Sometimes though, the very fatality and mortality that gives rise to our existential meanings; our ethereal existences, collide in the most turbulent and violent of ways. This is what happened to James Borton, who teaches writing at the University of South Carolina Sumter.

Following a sudden failure in the heart’s beat to life’s rhythm, Borton spent 21 days in ICU including 9 days in a coma. He says, on his recovery, that he realized that his heart required much more healing than the medications and equipment that, for a spell of time, supplemented the body’s natural course to life. Consequently, Borton established a blog called www.allheartmatters.com, which bears witness to stories of illness written by patients, including doctors and nurses.

Borton, who is teaching a new course this fall at the university, on Themes in Medicine & Literature, believes that “patients and doctors from Chekhov to Verghase have long understood the power of telling an listening to personal narratives.”

In October this year, a medical humanities writing event will take place, organized by Borton, in South Carolina. The evangelical educator has taken his message of the healing benefits of personal narratives to many far-reaching medical groups, including the South Carolina Medical Association, hospices, hospitals and senior centres.

Link for more details about the event and call for submissions:

https://www.musc.edu/broadcast/show/24797

Link for more information about Hippocrates:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/%7Eucgajpd/medicina%20antiqua/sa_hippint.html