Scientist and meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn includes in his pages of “Full Catastrophe Living” a horrifying story that speaks powerfully about the mind-body connection.
When renowned cardiologist Bernard Lown was in training to become a physician, he had in his clinic a patient, “Mrs. S.,” who had a narrowing of one of the valves on the right side of her heart, the tricuspid valve. She was in mild congestive heart failure; however, she functioned well enough to maintain her job as a librarian and do household chores.
She would come to the weekly cardiac clinic run by Dr. S. A. Levine, a well-respected professor of cardiology at the Harvard Medical School and at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, to receive digitalis and injections of a mercurial diuretic. One week Dr. Levine greeted Mrs. S. warmly, as he usually did — the two had an affable relationship — and then he turned to the entourage of visiting physicians and said, “This woman has TS.” With those words he abruptly left.