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Valdemar Erling, medical doctor

Valdemar Erling is the doctor who started the project "Second round" at Kungälv Hospital. The second round is an example of narrative medicine, an approach where the patient's story is central.

How would you describe narrative medicine?
- To approach any medical isue, one needs to engage in large comparative studies and examine how the effects will be on a group level. All algorithms and guidelines used in health care are based on group data. But the reality is that you are examining a person. Then you certainly need group data, but to apply it correctly to the patient there has to be a place for the individual story.

- Before modern medicine made its entry in the 1700's, a lot of effort was spent on the patient's story. The patients' histories were written down and assessed as a basis for treatment. In the late 1800's, the tendency became instead to aggregate large amounts of data, drawing conclusions and making inquiries. Diagnoses started to build on the analysis of the cell. This led to lost focus on the person and instead direct it towards the disease itself. It's been positive in many ways, that's why medicine has evolved so very rapidly. But for the individual human beings who suffer from a disease, the story is so important because it is what makes us unique. The story is an important tool for the diagnosis.

- This is problematic because the story helps us to respond both to the patient and help the patient to better manage their condition. Stories are also what engages us as carers. This may ultimately enrich our work, it becomes a tool to meet yourself.

Should medicine become more interdisciplinary?
If we devote ourselves to medicine and to cure people, there must also be a reason to do this. Illness itself affects us very deeply as humans. Illness changes our lives drastically but it is a part of all humans' lives. As health professionals, we meet people in difficult and grief-stricken states. This is something that the liberal arts are talking about. Our culture such as books, movies and music: that's what makes us understand our lives and our inner selves. It would be very strange to have medicine without the humanities, it would only be a war on disease.

-My hope is that narrative medicine will become a meeting point for different disciplines and faculties. 

You're also a musician, are music and health conected?
- There may be a connection, for example, it has been observed that stroke patients recover faster if they listen to classical music. But that is not the important thing for me. Music for me is about creating value in life,  an important reason for pursuing health. We need culture to understand what it means to be human. But culture itself is not a medicine for me. The important thing for me is our heritage and the understanding of being human on a deeper level. But, having said that, it is clear that we are affected, there are many examples of it.

Personal facts:

Position: Hematology consultant at Kungälv Hospital where he is also director of studies for resident doctors. Medicine Licentiate in Immunology
Family: Four children
Driving force: It sounds like a cliche, but to me it is meeting with other people. The meeting and ethics. Something happens to the ethical compass when you look another person in the eye. When work becomes a burden, I think I can rest in the meeting with patients.

Page Manager: Lovisa Aijmer|Last update: 9/23/2016
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