This Doctor Can Feel His Patient's Pain Due To Rare Condition
It's one of Black Mirror's more messed up scenes where we see a doctor who undergoes a radical procedure to have an implant inserted into his brain so that he could feel what his patients feel to better diagnose them.
He ends up getting addicted to the pain until he murders a homeless man by drilling into the poor bloke's brain, sending himself into a coma.
While that type of technology might seem like the work of fiction, there's a rare condition that exists which is essentially the same thing, but without the need to get an implant in your head.
Dr Joel Salinas is an American neurologist who has mirror-touch synaesthesia.
He's actually got general synaesthesia, which, in his words, is 'a complex neurological trait that causes [me] to constantly perceive each of [my] senses as a mix with one or more of [my] other senses'.
He can hear colours and taste sounds.
But it's his mirror-touch synaesthesia that allows him to be able to feel what other people around him feel. This condition is found in roughly 1.6-2.5 percent of the general population.
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You know when you go to a doctor and you can't exactly articulate what you feel or where the pain is specifically - well Dr Salinas can come pretty close to being able to know just what you're going through. He gave this account to the New York Post about his experiences: "Meeting a nonverbal woman with cerebral palsy who has become agitated and combative with the medical staff, I'm struck by a quickening of my breath.
"The sensation of suffocating is almost overwhelming and I experience the sensation that something is wrong with my lungs. I order a series of tests on her. Turns out she has blood clots - on her lungs."
Dr Salinas has felt all types of sensations when patients arrive at hospital and even had a chilling description of what happened when someone died.
He told the BBC: "Someone had a cardiac arrest and it completely caught me off guard."
Doctors started performing chest compressions on the patient and Joel could feel that sensation on his chest. Unfortunately, the person was pronounced dead and Dr Salinas felt an 'eerie silence' in his body.
"I had this complete absence of physical sensations. It was so haunting. It was like being in a room with an air conditioner and suddenly it was switched off."
While it no doubt makes him better able to connect with his patients and people in general, he realised that he had to put steps in place to ensure he doesn't get overwhelmed by a person's physical feelings.
Featured Image Credit: Dr Joel Salinas/Instagram
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