Medicine: After Heart Surgery

Because open-heart surgery has a massive impact on the system, surgeons routinely keep close watch on the patient's bodily functions during the postoperative period. Now, to hasten recovery, doctors are being urged to study their patients' psyches as well, and for good reason. A Yale University School of Medicine researcher, Dr. Chase Patterson Kimball, has found that open-heart surgery sometimes produces severe psychological reactions.

Serious operations may leave psychological scars. Feelings of rage are common in women who have undergone hysterectomies; depression is understandably frequent among those who lose a breast because of cancer. Open-heart surgery, reports Kimball, produces its own constellation...

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