I was personally offended by the title, "Don't call the anesthesiologist-hypnotism can work wonders," chosen by the editorial staff for my column, The Noosphere, in the Jan. 28 edition of The Chronicle. I'm sure the entire staff of the Anesthesiology Department at the Medical Center was similarly offended, and for that I apologize because that was not my intent. The title I submitted was "Hypnosis empowers patients to mobilize their inner resources," which more accurately reflects the spirit of the article. As I pointed out in the article, hypnosis is most commonly useful as an adjunct to conventional anesthesia rather than as an alternative.
One of the most controversial issues in modern medicine is how to successfully integrate complementary practices with allopathic practices in a way that is not antagonistic. Unfortunately, from the media's point of view, sometimes sensationalizing the situation is a more effective way to draw readers and viewers. As the final choice of an article's title is not within the columnist's control, I have endured a year's worth of distortion of my ideas for attention-getting purposes. Only one of my 11 columns has run with the title that I chose for it. I would hope that the author's intent would be considered more carefully by the editors in choosing future column titles.
Larry Burk, M.D.
Department of Radiology
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