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If you’re going to have a heart attack, an organ transplant, or a joint replacement, here’s the key to getting the very best medical care: be a white, straight, middle-class male. This book by a pioneering black surgeon takes on one of the few critically important topics that haven’t figured in the heated debate over health care reform—the largely hidden yet massive injustice of bias in medical treatment.
Growing up in Jim Crow–era Tennessee and training and teaching in overwhelmingly white medical institutions, Gus White witnessed firsthand how prejudice works in the world of medicine. And while race relations have changed dramatically, old ways of thinking die hard. In Seeing Patients White draws upon his experience in startlingly different worlds to make sense of the unconscious bias that riddles medical treatment, and to explore what it means for health care in a diverse twenty-first-century America.
White and co-author David Chanoff use extensive research and interviews with leading physicians to show how subconscious stereotyping influences doctor-patient interactions, diagnosis, and treatment. Their book brings together insights from the worlds of social psychology, neuroscience, and clinical practice to define the issues clearly and, most importantly, to outline a concrete approach to fixing this fundamental inequity in the delivery of health care.
Armed by the unique perspective afforded by being both within the American medical establishment and an African American whose grit and talent put him there, highly respected Harvard Medical School professor White is a crystal-clear visionary. The best means to improve health care for all, he says, is for medical schools to produce physicians who are not only scientifically competent but also equally culturally competent...Part stirring autobiography, part reasoned apology for egalitarian health care, White's book makes a powerful case.
— Donna Chavez
The intertwining journeys of both orthopaedics and civil and human rights are chronicled in Dr. White's life and career. Despite the progress made in these areas, unequal medical treatment in this country still exists due to biases, stereotypes, generalizations, language differences, and cultural barriers.
— Steven L. Frick, MD
White, noted professor of orthopedic surgery at Harvard University, addresses the pervasive but hidden problem of prejudice in medicine in this revealing book. He uses extensive research to show how subconscious stereotyping of Blacks, women, and other minorities influences the doctor-patient relationship and how many people, therefore, receive substandard treatment.
— Clarence Waldron
White's story—part autobiography, part call to action—is a compelling and often uncomfortable read about a hidden world where even the most compassionate and egalitarian caregivers often fail a basic command of the Hippocratic oath: to do no harm.
— Sean Silverthorne
White grew up in Memphis during the Jim Crow era. Affected deeply by the blatant racial prejudice he encountered in the South, as a student in Ivy League universities, as a physician during the Vietnam War, and as an orthopedic surgeon, White offers a deeply personal account. Part autobiography, and part sociological treatise on issues including race, the book chronicles how White's epiphany in Vietnam ("When I came out of that carnage in Vietnam, I came out with an even stronger sense that in the final analysis we are all so much more similar than different") led to his realization that "the persistent derogation of out-groups" results in unequal treatment of many categories of people. This understanding inspired him to become an activist dedicated to increasing knowledge and awareness of diversity issues. A fascinating account of how White became a professor of medical education/orthopedic surgery and the first African American department chief at Harvard's teaching hospital, this book explains such sociological principles as race, class, and in-group/out-group processes in clear, uncomplicated prose. His a very enjoyable account of the remarkable life of an individual who did what a lot of people say they want to do: make a difference.
— C. Apt
Posted May 2, 2011
I'm just amazed that it actually took so long for such text to be published. And I can't believe I never heard of 'Gus White' before this book. "My fellow humans...A man ain't nothing but a man...Colonized mentality... I thank you sir for the lesson.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.