This Doctor Can Feel His Patient’s Pain
Sarah Greeley, May 2, 2018
At Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Joe Salinas has a neurological trait called mirror-touch. He has the ability to touch and feel the emotional and physical pain and experiences of his patients. Mirror-touch is still a medical mystery and no one knows how you can obtain this trait. Dr. Salinas is a neurologist and clinical researcher at the hospital and helps people everyday with his job but also his ability from mirror-touch.
Salinas told Fox News that if he sees someone getting slapped on the wrist, he will feel that on his wrist as well. He says he can’t stand seeing someone physically or emotionally in pain. He even wrote a book on mirror-touch called, “Mirror Touch: A memoir of synesthesia and the secret life of the brain.” In this book he describes how people feel pain and emotions, and certain people’s experiences with these emotions and physical pains. He explains how his brain makes him think that him and the other person are the same, making him recognize the pain with what is going on right then, and what his past experiences are. Mirror-touch is basically the blending of the senses because his senses all try to work together at the same time. His brain processes data in the form of all different senses.
This is a very rare condition and only affect 1.6 percent of the population, this was also only discovered in 2005 by neurologists. It’s no physic ability, but that the brain may have more connective parts of the brain with empathy and less connective parts of the brain that differentiate ourselves with others. Like Dr. Salinas said, his brain makes him think that him and the other person are the same, or the same body.
In his book, he tells a story about how a patient with Tourette syndrome chewed the inside of his mouth until it split, Salinas could feel that pain in a similar way. He described it as a shot of pain through his cheek, into his teeth. With this doctor being able to feel his patient’s pain with mirror-touch, it creates much more of a connection between him and his patient’s. It also helps with being able to help them better and faster then he would if he didn’t have mirror-touch. He told an experience where a patient had cerebral palsy and couldn’t speak right. Although these things were going on, Salinas sensed a different kind of problem when he felt a pain in his chest and told her to get a CT scan. Later they found out after the scan that she had a blood clot in her lungs. Doctors wouldn’t have figured that out, or at least as fast as he did if it wasn’t for the mirror-touch. Although he can feel these things when his patients are living, it’s a much more different feeling when they pass away. He described it as being in a room with an air conditioner and then suddenly it just stops, like a creepy silence. He has had mirror-touch since he was a young kid like when he watched cartoons, he felt like he was chewing on a carrot when he watched Bugs Bunny.
With mirror-touch Dr. Salinas can feel emotional and physical pain, and can help his patients in a way most people on the Earth can’t.