This doctor has a rare condition that lets him actually FEEL his patients’ pain

By Samantha Luiz
04 August 2015

Is this the world’s most compassionate doctor?

Dr Joel Salinas of Massachusetts General Hospital suffers from mirror-touch synesthesia, a rare condition that allows him to experience his patients’ pain.

While the neurologist does not feel the same amount of physical sensation, he claims to experience a sort of uneasiness in the same part of the body as the person he sees.

'I remember feeling as though my arm was dismembered'

“I remember one patient who unfortunately had an amputation of the arm from an accident. I remember feeling as though my arm was dismembered and I could feel the blood.”

Regardless, he believes his condition has allowed him to be a better doctor.

“I think it’s empowered me to really connect with my patients. There’s a wall that’s torn down when you feel a lot of the sensations that your patients feel as well. It’s like being aggressively put in somebody else’s shoes.”

Dr Salinas told CBS Boston he first became aware of his condition when he was a child.

“When I was a kid, having these experiences where if I would see someone hug I would feel the hug on myself or if I would see someone get hit, I felt the sensation on me as well.”

Despite his condition being both a blessing and a curse, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s part of who I am. It would be really weird not to have it.”


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