In the novel Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Thomas Stone asks, “What treatment in an emergency is administered by ear?” The correct answer is “Words of comfort.” Write an essay that responds to the following questions:
- How does this moment encapsulate the book’s surprising take on medicine?
- Have your experiences with doctors and hospitals held this to be true? Why or why not?
- What does Cutting for Stone tell us about the roles of compassion, faith, and hope in medicine?
- The minimum number of words for this assignment is 500.
- Cite all information that is not your own in APA style. You can find more information on citation here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
- Include references at the end of the discussion in APA style
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In Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Thomas Stone asks a seemingly simple question, “What treatment in an emergency is administered by ear?” The answer, “Words of comfort,” encapsulates the book’s surprising take on medicine. In this essay, we will discuss how this moment represents the book’s view on medicine, experiences with doctors and hospitals holding this to be true, and the role of compassion, faith, and hope in medicine.
1. How does this moment encapsulate the book’s surprising take on medicine?
The answer, “Words of comfort,” is not a medical treatment typically considered in emergency situations. However, it highlights the importance of empathy and emotional support in the healing process. The book emphasizes the idea that medicine should be more than just a scientific process; it should also involve a human touch. The moment shows that medicine is not just about diagnosing and treating the patient; it is about understanding and caring for them as a whole person.
2. Have your experiences with doctors and hospitals held this to be true? Why or why not?
Personally, my experiences with doctors and hospitals have varied. There have been times when doctors have shown great empathy and emotional support towards their patients, and other times where it felt like they were only interested in the medical treatment. It is important for medical professionals to have a balance between the two; one should not come at the expense of the other. Emotional comfort can be just as important as medical treatment for the healing process.
3. What does Cutting for Stone tell us about the roles of compassion, faith, and hope in medicine?
Cutting for Stone illustrates how compassion, faith, and hope can be critical components of healing. Compassion allows medical professionals to approach their patients with kindness, understanding, and empathy. Faith can provide patients with a sense of comfort and hope, even in the toughest of situations. And hope helps to motivate patients and their families to persevere through difficult treatments and to believe in the possibility of a positive outcome. All of these elements can provide a more holistic approach to medicine, benefiting both the patient and medical professionals.
Verghese, A. (2009). Cutting for Stone. New York: Vintage Books.
Purdue University Online Writing Lab. (n.d.). APA Formatting and Style Guide. Retrieved from