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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Vincent F Carr, DO, MSA, FACC, FACP (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)
Description: American medicine has always placed technology and technical competency ahead of all else. Dr. Buckley challenges that order, describing another aspect of the personal impact of illness and presents her case through the eyes and writings of other physicians. This is one of the top five books I have read during my medical career.
Purpose: The author describes her experiences growing up and tells the story of her mother, also a physician, being unable to tell her own physician how her diagnosis affected her. The author also uses the words and stories of other physicians she has known and worked with, bringing the problem to her readers at a very personal level.
Audience: This book is written for all physicians and, more importantly, medical students and those in training so they can see from the very beginning how important this concept is. The book is relevant for patients also. It makes the statement that we physicians experience the same as patients and struggle with the same issues as patients, and when we fail it is because American medicine as an institution has never figured out how to empathize with patients adequately.
Features: The four main sections cover the experience of illness, the doctor's role, reflections of doctors on illness, medical training, and clinical care, and finally a description of a course of study for fourth year medical students to help put their technical instruction into perspective. Throughout, thoughts and quotations from physicians describe their reactions and feelings while being patients.
Assessment: This book should be mandatory reading for everyone who works providing healthcare. It is extraordinarily powerful and personal.