On the bookshelf: March 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.

 In the face of fear and isolation of both patients and physicians, Rita Charon—Professor of Clinical Medicine and director of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University—demonstrates how stories can open the door to better healing. Charon believes that illness and its care cannot be fully understood without taking into account patients’ stories.

In the face of fear and isolation of both patients and physicians, Rita Charon—Professor of Clinical Medicine and director of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University—demonstrates how stories can open the door to better healing. Charon believes that illness and its care cannot be fully understood without taking into account patients’ stories.

 This is the story of a four-hospital system in Wisconsin which embraced “lean healthcare”, reducing errors, improving outcomes, raising morale, and saving $27 million without layoffs. These transformative practices “go to the gemba” (the bedside) with collaboration and respect.

This is the story of a four-hospital system in Wisconsin which embraced “lean healthcare”, reducing errors, improving outcomes, raising morale, and saving $27 million without layoffs. These transformative practices “go to the gemba” (the bedside) with collaboration and respect.

 The author, a brain scientist, describes her experience of a massive stroke and recounts what she learned during her unusual and inspiring voyage of recovery. An Appendix titled “Forty Things I Needed the Most” is a compelling guide for everyone interested in patient and family-centered healthcare.

The author, a brain scientist, describes her experience of a massive stroke and recounts what she learned during her unusual and inspiring voyage of recovery. An Appendix titled “Forty Things I Needed the Most” is a compelling guide for everyone interested in patient and family-centered healthcare.

 Pearson shares her own experiences of the deaths of her father and sister, as well as perspectives from palliative care staff, scientists, and theologians. She encourages all of us who spend time with the dying—family members, friends, and healthcare staff—to be curious and quiet in their presence so that we can hear what is being shared.

Pearson shares her own experiences of the deaths of her father and sister, as well as perspectives from palliative care staff, scientists, and theologians. She encourages all of us who spend time with the dying—family members, friends, and healthcare staff—to be curious and quiet in their presence so that we can hear what is being shared.

 This anthology of 46 reflective essays and stories showcase a variety of experiences, such as the bravery of a young girl with AIDS; a blind woman trying to navigate her way to care; the dangers of talking in front of patients thinking they cannot hear; and the challenges of finding sensitive care for those with mental illness.

This anthology of 46 reflective essays and stories showcase a variety of experiences, such as the bravery of a young girl with AIDS; a blind woman trying to navigate her way to care; the dangers of talking in front of patients thinking they cannot hear; and the challenges of finding sensitive care for those with mental illness.

 This is the true story of a 25-year ICU nurse who experiences the rigors of her own open-heart surgery. Shalof says that she “learned more in her week-long stay as a patient than in all her years caring for the critically ill, especially about trust and working in partnership with her caregivers.”

This is the true story of a 25-year ICU nurse who experiences the rigors of her own open-heart surgery. Shalof says that she “learned more in her week-long stay as a patient than in all her years caring for the critically ill, especially about trust and working in partnership with her caregivers.”