On the bookshelf: December 2017

Drawn to true stories of challenge and triumph, especially if they are set in a medical milieu? Care about improving the health care system? Love good writing that makes you stop and think about your own life? In this series, I'll share some of my favourite and most thought-provoking books on health, healing, and the system around it all. If you are lucky enough to have a local independent bookseller, please consider sourcing these books directly.

 This book documents Julie Salamon’s unprecedented year-long access to the inner workings of a contemporary hospital—Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Stories of patients and staff are captured alongside the financial realities of operating a huge, overburdened private institution. The Annotated Book List at the back of the book, with a synopsis and the first sentence for each, is a fantastic list for anyone who likes to read medical literature.

This book documents Julie Salamon’s unprecedented year-long access to the inner workings of a contemporary hospital—Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Stories of patients and staff are captured alongside the financial realities of operating a huge, overburdened private institution. The Annotated Book List at the back of the book, with a synopsis and the first sentence for each, is a fantastic list for anyone who likes to read medical literature.

 In analyzing how doctors think and how they diagnose patients, Groopman discovers that doctors sometimes make snap decisions that are usually correct but sometimes can be catastrophically wrong. Through his own personal experiences and other case studies, Groopman offers importance advice for patients and families…to ask clear, direct, and intelligent questions and to persevere in telling their stories so that, together, they can make better decisions.

In analyzing how doctors think and how they diagnose patients, Groopman discovers that doctors sometimes make snap decisions that are usually correct but sometimes can be catastrophically wrong. Through his own personal experiences and other case studies, Groopman offers importance advice for patients and families…to ask clear, direct, and intelligent questions and to persevere in telling their stories so that, together, they can make better decisions.

 In spite of the questionable choices Lance Armstrong made in his bicycling career, this book about his experience with illness is truly inspiring! Lance Armstrong, at the age of 25, was diagnosed with testicular cancer and shortly after, found out he also had cancer in his lungs and brain. In spite of dark days and terrible moments, he now says “cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me…the most important and shaping event in my life.”

In spite of the questionable choices Lance Armstrong made in his bicycling career, this book about his experience with illness is truly inspiring! Lance Armstrong, at the age of 25, was diagnosed with testicular cancer and shortly after, found out he also had cancer in his lungs and brain. In spite of dark days and terrible moments, he now says “cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me…the most important and shaping event in my life.”

 For years, as a pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Epstein's young patients taught him about the importance of seizing the moment and loving without boundaries. Their insights and wisdom further helped him when, after a bicycle accident, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and began the same journey.

For years, as a pioneering pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Epstein's young patients taught him about the importance of seizing the moment and loving without boundaries. Their insights and wisdom further helped him when, after a bicycle accident, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and began the same journey.

 The author says this book “describes the reality of patient care—both the good and not so good—through stories.” The stories make us ponder how we can do better. This is the kind of book you can open anywhere and immediately enter experiences that will speak to you.

The author says this book “describes the reality of patient care—both the good and not so good—through stories.” The stories make us ponder how we can do better. This is the kind of book you can open anywhere and immediately enter experiences that will speak to you.

 A baby is born with a heart defect which requires surgery at birth. The boy lives his life with spirit, but upon adolescence, he is threatened by a mysterious illness. His father, racing against time, is challenged by what he perceives as flaws in the healthcare system.

A baby is born with a heart defect which requires surgery at birth. The boy lives his life with spirit, but upon adolescence, he is threatened by a mysterious illness. His father, racing against time, is challenged by what he perceives as flaws in the healthcare system.