The paper contributes to the understanding of empathy by American psychosomatic medicine in the 1940s-1950s, the most
important period in the development of this School. I will discuss what empathy is, how it works, and who is capable of performing
it analysing stories of poliomyelitis patients and their parents.
I will focus the study on the management of the emotional impact of the diagnosis of poliomyelitis, then considered a tragic
diagnosis, in both patients and their parents. I also will refer to how the professionals, especially nurses, perceived the experience
of illness in hospitalized patients, because of the interesting and disturbing impacts of these perceptions, from an empathic point
As we will know, narratives play a central role in the representation of empathy in the special link established between physicians
and other health professionals and poliomyelitis patients, because of the relational quality of empathy. Thus, we will
observe positive and negative aspects of the empathy in the clinical practices.