The Lasting  Year

Palliative Care in Other Words

In the fall of 2005, the Mayo Clinic in partnership with the Arizona State University Creative Writing Program began a groundbreaking project, seeking to find new ways of thinking about palliative care.  The partnership sought to include together the human beings at the center of this project, their families, and their caregivers.

Writing and medicine have gone hand-in-hand through the centuries.  We revisit this ancient idea, but we make it new as well.

Lyric medicine is our answer.  It is a term we have coined relative to this work, and as a response to other methodologies, including "narrative medicine."  Using our approach, we do not attempt to tell the lives of these patients.  We try, instead, to find the moments upon, around, and because of which those lives were made. 

This partnership of disciplines is a search for distilled and complementary meaning, something in words that medicine also is.

Instead of administering medicine to the patient, however, we empower the patient to administer that curative equally to us.  Medicine, as we have learned, may be viewed also as a reciprocal rather than only a linear model.

These are our notes, our adventure.

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