In this entertaining memoir, Dr. Gerald Cohen recounts his life as a radiologist in New York. As stated in the book’s introduction, Dr. Cohen “practiced in the golden years of radiology and medicine.” Without any computer assistance and mostly without more modern imaging instruments like CAT scans and MRIs, he “read” X-ray images, interpreting them for doctors and patients alike. Displaying abundant wit and moving insight, Dr. Cohen applies his interpretive skills to snapshots and memories of his own life.
Beyond the Images is filled with playfulness and a powerful yet winking reverence for family—past, present, and future. The stories span Cohen’s whole life, including his early years as a child when he helped with his father’s home family practice, his medical school and internship training, his many years of private practice in Tarrytown, and his retirement and afterwards. Funny and revealing episodes shed light on drama of all kinds: drama with hospital staff and rules, with the people of his own practice, with patients, and even some tense drama in the courtroom. Rounding out his medical and family tales are an array of engrossing essays covering a range of topics as varied as BMWs, dogs, food, aging, and vasectomies, all told with refreshingly raw honesty.
Presented in a loose style that defies expectations, this book is richly illustrated with photos from throughout Cohen’s life. It does indeed go “beyond the images” to reveal the fascinating self-portrait of a talented, dedicated, and perceptive medical professional.