Topic: Business › Case Study

Last updated: October 26, 2019

The Man who mistook his wife for a hat presents the journey of a neuropsychologists and shows the personal relationship that he has created with his patients.

The book is an inside look at how the human brain functions, with emphasis on neurological/psychological disorders as the tragedy of losing neurological faculties’ memory, powers of visualization, word-recognition or the devastating fate of those suffering an excess of neurological functions causing such conditions as Korsakoff’s syndrome, Parkinsonism, chorea, and tics. Over the course of the book, the narrator, neurologist Oliver Sacks describes different clinical tales of some of his patients, each of which corresponds to a rare neurological disorder. In the following context, the author provides information about how deficits occur when a part of the brain is damaged. The ways in which a person’s behavior or abilities might alter and transformed are being investigated thoroughly into the given book. The chapter of “Losses” is opened by the author with his titling story, the reader is introduced to Dr. P’s case study or to ‘The man who mistook his wife for a hat” (Guides & Hat, 2018). Dr.P.

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is a patient whose appears to be suffering from a rare disorder called prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosia is included as a parameter in visual agnosia, – the inability to recognize familiar faces/objects and specific forms – a rare form of face blindness that as the title of this book suggests, he is even capable of mistaking his wife’s head for a hat (“Oliver Sacks- The case of Dr. P: webfusion.”, 2018). It is probably just a coincidence that the next case in the chapter presents a problem which is located also in the right hemisphere. The story of Jimmie G describes a 49 years old mariner who is incapable to store short term memory (anterograde amnesia) and has no ability to transform them into long term memories (retrograde amnesia) (Rogers, 2018). Sacks wrote, “He is a man without a past (or future), stuck in a constantly changing, meaningless moment” (Sacks, 1985).

Sacks diagnosed Jimmie with Korsakov’s Syndrome. In the following way Sacks describes ‘The Disembodied Lady’. Sacks describes a story about a young -27-year-old- athletic woman named Christina. Based on the book, Christina suddenly was unable to move, sat or speak. Although she could use her vision to create movement but even then, the moves were awkward. Sacks realized that she had lost all proprioception— she had no sense of familiarity with her body, she had to re-learn all the basics behaviors (“The Disembodied Lady”, 2018). The next story concerns a man that he was admitted to the hospital for exhibiting signs of weakness to his left leg, but the symptoms grew to a more serious neurological disorder namely parietal ataxic hemiparesis (“04: The Man Who Fell Out of Bed – Neurobiology Readings”, 2018). More precisely he believed that the nurse has put an imposter leg on his body, then he tried to remove the leg from his body.

The patient seems to be normal physically although he was almost hallucinating about his leg (“04: The Man Who Fell Out of Bed – Neurobiology Readings”, 2018). Similarly, Madeline’s story ‘Hands” is another case about neurological affiliations. Sacks describes an elderly woman named Madeline a congenitally blind woman with cerebral palsy. Madeline could not identify the movements of her hands, they were inactive.

As a patient, she had the most profound impairment of perception (“The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat Part 1, Chapter 5: Hands Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes”, 2018). The next chapter, “Phantom” doesn’t revolve a single patient story in contrast Sacks poses a series of questions about the characteristics of ‘phantoms’ and about how his patients were experiencing symptoms of a phantom limb (“The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat Losses: 4 – 6 Summary and Analysis”, 2018). Nonetheless, neurologists aren’t sure about the kind of disorder -or the cure- that causes “phantoms”.

“On the Level” is about an old man -93 years old- with Parkinson disease. Due to his illness he is facing troubles to walk upright, he has lost his innate sense of balance (“07: On the Level – Neurobiology Readings”, 2018). ‘Eyes Right’ is a story about a woman in her sixties. Mrs. S. got a massive stroke, and she fails to recognize anything on her left side (“The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”, 2018). As a patient, she is suffering from hemispatial neglect (“The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”, 2018). The last story of The President Speech we recognize the patients with global aphasia.

The main problem is the lack of any sense of expression and ‘tone’, while there are incapable of preserving the comprehension for words, so they found Presidents’ speeches are hilarious which makes them laugh. To conclude Sacks packed extraordinary cases, and he created a book quite short and easy to read. Sacks is letting the reader to explore the mind, thoughts, and feelings of a doctor who appears to have a sympathetic and deeply human way to examine his patients. The main topics are based on neurology and psychology, but it can be considered for general readers since it includes short postscripts and Sacks uses an everyday language. Therefore, this book can help the neurologists, psychologists and general readers to enhance their understanding of a wide range of neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions.


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