The genesis of the medical humanities as a discrete academic discipline engendered a need for a theoretical framework, a function taken on by the growing narrative medicine movement. More recently, scholars have begun to develop a critical medical humanities, an analytical movement that emphasises the fundamental enmeshment of the sciences and humanities. Building on Helene Scott-Fordsmand’s work on reversing the medical humanities, this paper develops an alternative to the current version of narrative medicine. We propose a new interpretive heuristic, the Double Helix Model, and place it in critical dialogue with the Columbia School’s close reading based-approach. Through this new conceptual frame, we suggest that critical narrative medicine may empower clinicians to contribute to the reorientation of the roles of the sciences and humanities, benefiting providers, scholars and patients.
- narrative medicine
- literary theory
- literature and medicine
- narrative ethics
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Contributors LB was the primary author of this text and is its guarantor. SP assisted in the composition, revision, and design of this paper.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.