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What's Left Out by
Publication Date: 2015-03-03
Short stories about the complex maze of health care Conventional medical narratives often fail to capture the incoherent, surreal, and logic-twisting reality of the contemporary healthcare experience, where mystery, absurdity, and even cruelty are disguised as logic, reason, and compassion. In this new collection of stories by physician and writer Jay Baruch, characters struggle in their quest for meaning and a more hopeful tomorrow in a strange landscape where motivations are complex and convoluted and what is considered good and just operates as a perpetually shifting proposition. Readers are invited to eavesdrop on the conversations and thoughts of those negotiating the healthcare landscape while attempting to maintain their sanity. Each glimpse into the minds of patients, doctors, and family members reveals the stark reality that reason and compassion are not always the lifeblood of a system devoted to healing. From a weary night shift doctor dealing with a chronic patient to a physician figuring out how to tell the next of kin about a relative's death, each of Baruch's characters exposes the multitude of emotions lurking behind the strained and sickly faces in the hospital waiting room. With imagination and an eye for detail, Baruch takes readers on an unsparing ride through the hidden, ignored, or misunderstood challenges facing healers and the ill. It is a world where communities shoulder unrelenting burdens, optimism is held with caution, and people ration their dreams. Baruch's vivid storytelling guides his readers through the incoherent and emotionally fraught reality he has faced during his twenty years as an emergency physician. The stories in What's Left Out ask readers to take risks, to make leaps into unfamiliar territory, and, like the larger healthcare enterprise, to develop comfort and trust in the untraditional and unexpected.
Singular Intimacies by
Publication Date: 2009-04-01
Singular Intimacies is the story of becoming a doctor by immersion at New York's Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the country. When Danielle Ofri first enters the doors as a medical student, she is immediately plunged into the teeming world of urban medicine. It is here that Dr. Ofri develops a profound instinct for healing and, above all, learns to navigate the tangled vulnerabilities of doctor and patient.
The Emperor of All Maladies by
Publication Date: 2011-08-09
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane "biography" of cancer--from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with--and perished from--for more than five thousand years. The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out "war against cancer." The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee's own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive--and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease. Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.
Falling into the Fire by
Publication Date: 2014-07-29
Falling Into the Fire is psychiatrist Christine Montross's thoughtful investigation of the gripping patient encounters that have challenged and deepened her practice. The majority of the patients Montross treats in Falling Into the Fire are seen in the locked inpatient wards of a psychiatric hospital; all are in moments of profound crisis. We meet a young woman who habitually commits self-injury, having ingested light bulbs, a box of nails, and a steak knife, among other objects. Her repeated visits to the hospital incite the frustration of the staff, leading Montross to examine how emotion can interfere with proper care. A recent college graduate, dressed in a tunic and declaring that love emanates from everything around him, is brought to the ER by his concerned girlfriend. Is it ecstasy or psychosis? What legal ability do doctors have to hospitalize--and sometimes medicate--a patient against his will? A new mother is admitted with incessant visions of harming her child. Is she psychotic and a danger or does she suffer from obsessive thoughts? Her course of treatment--and her child's future--depends upon whether she receives the correct diagnosis. Each case study presents its own line of inquiry, leading Montross to seek relevant psychiatric knowledge from diverse sources. A doctor of uncommon curiosity and compassion, Montross discovers lessons in medieval dancing plagues, in leading forensic and neurological research, and in moments from her own life. Beautifully written, deeply felt, Falling Into the Fire brings us inside the doctor's mind, illuminating the grave human costs of mental illness as well as the challenges of diagnosis and treatment. Throughout, Montross confronts the larger question of psychiatry: What is to be done when a patient's experiences cannot be accounted for, or helped, by what contemporary medicine knows about the brain? When all else fails, Montross finds, what remains is the capacity to abide, to sit with the desperate in their darkest moments. At once rigorous and meditative, Falling Into the Fire is an intimate portrait of psychiatry, allowing the reader to witness the humanity of the practice and the enduring mysteries of the mind
What Patients Taught Me by
Publication Date: 2007-07-31
Do sleek high-tech hospitals teach more about medicine and less about humanity? Do doctors ever lose their tolerance for suffering? With sensitive observation and graceful prose, this book explores some of the difficult and deeply personal questions a 23-year-old doctor confronts with her very first dying patient, and continues to struggle with as she strives to become a good doctor. In her travels, the doctor attends to terminal illness, AIDS, tuberculosis, and premature birth in small rural communities throughout the world.
The House of Hope and Fear by
Publication Date: 2010-08-03
Critically acclaimed author Audrey Young offers a real-life Grey's Anatomy set in Seattle's big city hospital. Opening with the view of an idealistic young doctor entering her first post-graduate job at the local county hospital, The House of Hope and Fear explores not only the personal journey of one doctor's life and career, but also examines the health care system as a whole. The county hospital setting provides Audrey Young with a second education. With clear, eloquent text, the author chronicles attempts made to treat those tossed aside by society along with the personal and ideological shifts that accompany this daunting task. All of the hospital politics are detailed in a gripping account of the hospital's inner workings, and a human face is expertly given to the health care crisis in America.
My Own Country by
Publication Date: 1995-04-25
By the bestselling author of Cutting for Stone, a story of medicine in the American heartland, and confronting one's deepest prejudices and fears. Nestled in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, the town of Johnson City had always seemed exempt from the anxieties of modern American life. But when the local hospital treated its first AIDS patient, a crisis that had once seemed an "urban problem" had arrived in the town to stay. Working in Johnson City was Abraham Verghese, a young Indian doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Dr. Verghese became by necessity the local AIDS expert, soon besieged by a shocking number of male and female patients whose stories came to occupy his mind, and even take over his life. Verghese brought a singular perspective to Johnson City: as a doctor unique in his abilities; as an outsider who could talk to people suspicious of local practitioners; above all, as a writer of grace and compassion who saw that what was happening in this conservative community was both a medical and a spiritual emergency.
When Breath Becomes Air by
Publication Date: 2016-01-12
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living? At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a naïve medical student "possessed," as he wrote, "by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life" into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. "I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything," he wrote. "Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: 'I can't go on. I'll go on.'" When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both. Praise for When Breath Becomes Air "I guarantee that finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option. . . . Part of this book's tremendous impact comes from the obvious fact that its author was such a brilliant polymath. And part comes from the way he conveys what happened to him--passionately working and striving, deferring gratification, waiting to live, learning to die--so well. None of it is maudlin. Nothing is exaggerated. As he wrote to a friend: 'It's just tragic enough and just imaginable enough.' And just important enough to be unmissable."--Janet Maslin, The New York Times "An emotional investment well worth making: a moving and thoughtful memoir of family, medicine and literature. It is, despite its grim undertone, accidentally inspiring."--The Washington Post "Possesses the gravity and wisdom of an ancient Greek tragedy . . . [Kalanithi] delivers his chronicle in austere, beautiful prose. The book brims with insightful reflections on mortality that are especially poignant coming from a trained physician familiar with what lies ahead."--The Boston Globe "Devastating and spectacular . . . [Kalanithi] is so likeable, so relatable, and so humble, that you become immersed in his world and forget where it's all heading."--USA Today "It's [Kalanithi's] unsentimental approach that makes When Breath Becomes Air so original--and so devastating. . . . Its only fault is that the book, like his life, ends much too early."--Entertainment Weekly "[When Breath Becomes Air] split my head open with its beauty."--Cheryl Strayed
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