I am getting ready to give a presentation at the University of Paris Diderot about the diagnostic moment. I talk about this all the time on my FB page, and will indeed spend too much time on it here on this blog as well.
The diagnostic moment to which I refer, and which is the focus of my book Diagnosis: Truths and Tales is when a serious diagnosis with a poor prognosis is announced to a patient. That diagnosis is often cast as a moment of truth, when a patient’s world is turned upside down.
Are there other ways of understanding a diagnosis? Does it necessarily cleave a person’s life into before and after? How else can we tell the story of the dire diagnosis?
Havi Carel (who knows about serious diagnosis first hand) has also described the diagnostic moment as opening possibilities.
“Diagnosis is part of the process of creating a new form of life for the ill person, and as such it contains productive and surprising host of positive consequences that are impossible to anticipate.”
Using Haidt’s hypothesis of adversity, she maintains that illness reveals hidden abilities, and that faced with a severe diagnosis, people are forced to speak frankly about important issues such as death and disease, and are forced to ask for help from family and friends.
What other positive factors can a diagnosis offer?