On the bookshelf: June 2018

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.

 Dr. Stein shares the personal narratives of sickness from his own patients. Through their points of view, we see that when people are diagnosed with a serious illness, they feel as though they are on a challenging and confusing journey, to someplace entirely new. They feel their bodies have betrayed them; are terrified by the unknown; and experience the loneliness of being kidnapped into the land of the ill.

Dr. Stein shares the personal narratives of sickness from his own patients. Through their points of view, we see that when people are diagnosed with a serious illness, they feel as though they are on a challenging and confusing journey, to someplace entirely new. They feel their bodies have betrayed them; are terrified by the unknown; and experience the loneliness of being kidnapped into the land of the ill.

 Dr. Nuland shares stories taken from his 30 years as a surgeon and from other surgeons he has worked with and admired. These stories explore the sacrosanct relationship between doctor and patient and how they affect and inform medical knowledge, judgment, wisdom and character.  The stories hold nothing back as they describe moments of life and death alongside surgeons Nuland says include “pioneers, heroes, narcissists and scoundrels.”

Dr. Nuland shares stories taken from his 30 years as a surgeon and from other surgeons he has worked with and admired. These stories explore the sacrosanct relationship between doctor and patient and how they affect and inform medical knowledge, judgment, wisdom and character.  The stories hold nothing back as they describe moments of life and death alongside surgeons Nuland says include “pioneers, heroes, narcissists and scoundrels.”

 Groopman takes us into the lives of those facing serious illness and what is learned when we can no longer take life for granted.

Groopman takes us into the lives of those facing serious illness and what is learned when we can no longer take life for granted.

 This award-winning book captures the clash of two cultures, about a child diagnosed with epilepsy and a lack of understanding between staff at a small county hospital and a refugee family led to tragedy. This is about the need to honour cultural differences and bridge communication challenges.

This award-winning book captures the clash of two cultures, about a child diagnosed with epilepsy and a lack of understanding between staff at a small county hospital and a refugee family led to tragedy. This is about the need to honour cultural differences and bridge communication challenges.

 John Mann, former lead singer for Spirit of the West, created this CD of songs to share his journey with cancer. He says he found writing about his reflections therapeutic, from what he calls “the ridiculous stuff that happened—really stupid things and wacky things—and bedpan humour.”

John Mann, former lead singer for Spirit of the West, created this CD of songs to share his journey with cancer. He says he found writing about his reflections therapeutic, from what he calls “the ridiculous stuff that happened—really stupid things and wacky things—and bedpan humour.”

 This short DVD documentary is about a physician and a patient who share an adverse medical event and struggle alone and then travel together on a journey of healing. Various patient and family stories can be found on the website—www.mitss.org.

This short DVD documentary is about a physician and a patient who share an adverse medical event and struggle alone and then travel together on a journey of healing. Various patient and family stories can be found on the website—www.mitss.org.

 A former medical director shares stories, taken from actual case histories, to humanize some of the most challenging medical issues that face us in modern times. We travel from board rooms to emergency rooms and witness lives being saved and mistakes being made. The author knows of what he writes as he has also been a patient with throat cancer and has visited the shadowland between life and death.

A former medical director shares stories, taken from actual case histories, to humanize some of the most challenging medical issues that face us in modern times. We travel from board rooms to emergency rooms and witness lives being saved and mistakes being made. The author knows of what he writes as he has also been a patient with throat cancer and has visited the shadowland between life and death.

 This short book is an impressionistic recounting of a young woman’s journey through a debilitating auto-immune illness and her uneven and complicated recovery. The writing is sparse, without embellishment or self-pity, and with unsentimental wit.

This short book is an impressionistic recounting of a young woman’s journey through a debilitating auto-immune illness and her uneven and complicated recovery. The writing is sparse, without embellishment or self-pity, and with unsentimental wit.