When to Act and When to Refrain: A Lifetime of Learning the Science and Art of Medicine

When to Act and When to Refrain: A Lifetime of Learning the Science and Art of Medicine

by Marvin J. Stone


View All Available Formats & Editions


Dr. Marvin Stone describes his fascinating journey through the last half-century in medicine: becoming a physician, acquiring intense training in patient care and research, and teaching at all levels. Along the way, he introduces us to some exceptional leaders in the field through noteworthy first-hand accounts. This medical memoir, originally published in 2018 and updated in 2020, focuses on how clinical perspective and judgment develop as one travels through an exciting career. It will be of interest to students, young doctors, experienced physicians, and lay persons with interest in and concern about medical science and health care.

"Marvin Stone is a classical triple-threat medical academic: accomplished in biomedical research, expert in his clinical field, and revered teacher. For those interested in how such a career trajectory happens, he has written a book of immense value. Dr. Stone is a scholar but not a pedant. His memoir is warm, articulate, accessible, and informative. His book describes a relatively seamless merger of the elements of his career, extending from biochemical and genetic mechanisms of disease to expert and compassionate clinical care. Beyond that, it addresses concern for ethical issues in patient care and research and discusses examples of greats in the history of medicine, especially William Osler-in effect, past mentors who, though now silent, still speak to their clinical descendants. The book will be especially valuable to the young in medicine, from students through trainees to junior faculty. It is a clear, coherent description of the kinds of settings, people, and opportunities that underpin a successful and satisfying career in medicine. It will more than repay the hours spent in its company." -Jeremiah A. Barondess, MD, William T. Foley Distinguished Professor in Clinical Medicine, Weill-Cornell Medical College

"Heavily influenced by the works of William Osler, Stone approached his roles as cancer researcher, administrator, educator, and clinician with unwavering idealism and commitment to professionalism and humanism. This remarkable memoir is a gift to the legions of patients and medical professionals whose lives were enhanced by his guidance and support-and to anyone interested in where medicine has been in the past 60 years and where it's going." -Wendy S. Harpham, MD, FACP, author of Healing Hope: Through and Beyond Cancer

"A question-'What am I doing here?' -begins Marvin Stone's richly insightful memoir. The pages that follow provide an answer to how he would spend his life: learning, healing, teaching, cheering for Ohio State football (nobody's perfect), treating others with compassion-and above all serving as a modern manifestation of Sir William Osler. The writing, clear and understated, reflects the man: Think of this book as the opportunity for an extended conversation with a gently inspirational physician/humanist." -Dennis M. Kratz, PhD, Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor of Humanities and Dean, School of Arts and Humanities, The University of Texas at Dallas

"Marvin Stone has written a splendid memoir. It describes the life of a physician devoted to his profession, his patients, his quest for new knowledge, his students, his principled ideals, and his supportive family. Grounded by superior training, outstanding role models, mentors, and inspirational historical and lifelong colleagues, he describes the excitement of a full medical life. His scholarship, humility, and wonderful capacity for friendship with mentors, patients, and colleagues provide an uplifting read for both those in and out of medicine." -William C. Roberts, MD, Editor in Chief, American Journal of Cardiology and Baylor Proceedings

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781644406120
Publisher: Marvin Stone, MD
Publication date: 11/01/2018
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

Table of Contents


1 University of Chicago

2 Growing Up in Bexley

3 Barnes Hospital–St. Louis

4 National Institutes of Health–Bethesda

5 University of Texas Southwestern Medical School–Dallas

6 Certifying and Professional Organizations

7 Osler, the Humanities, and Microscopes


8 Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center–Dallas

9 Early Clinical Activities at Baylor University Medical Center

10 Clinical Investigative Activities in Dallas

11 The Patient with a New Diagnosis of Life-Threatening Illness

12 The Patient with Progressive Malignancy

13 Five Unusual Patients

14 Disaster


15 Teaching and Learning

16 Bioethics

17 Bexley Return

18 Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia

19 Derailment

20 Trauma Surgery


21 Professionalism and Ideals

22 Looking Back

23 The Future of Medicine


Suggested Reading




A Marvin J. Stone, MD: A Beloved Physician, Mentor, and Friend, 1999

B Marvin Jules Stone, MD, MACP: A Conversation with the Editor, 2001

C Tributes to Marvin J. Stone, MD, on His Retirement, 2013

Customer Reviews