On the bookshelf: November 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 is a sweeping novel, a 50-year saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.  The founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Verghese is now a Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

This is a sweeping novel, a 50-year saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.  The founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Verghese is now a Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

 This book provides a thoughtful review of gripping patient encounters which have challenged and deepened a psychiatrist’s practice. Inspired by lessons taken from various sources, from medieval dancing plagues to leading forensic research, Dr. Montross wrestles with the most profound questions such as how to simply abide and sit with those in their darkest moments when modern medicine has nothing to offer but comfort.

This book provides a thoughtful review of gripping patient encounters which have challenged and deepened a psychiatrist’s practice. Inspired by lessons taken from various sources, from medieval dancing plagues to leading forensic research, Dr. Montross wrestles with the most profound questions such as how to simply abide and sit with those in their darkest moments when modern medicine has nothing to offer but comfort.

 This 55-page paper is based on a 1999 speech given by Don Berwick, President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Berwick has been fighting for years to reduce medical errors in hospitals and to improve America’s healthcare system—especially after watching his wife become seriously ill and be admitted to hospital for more than 60 days. Berwick is a gifted orator and storyteller who challenges us all to do better.

This 55-page paper is based on a 1999 speech given by Don Berwick, President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Berwick has been fighting for years to reduce medical errors in hospitals and to improve America’s healthcare system—especially after watching his wife become seriously ill and be admitted to hospital for more than 60 days. Berwick is a gifted orator and storyteller who challenges us all to do better.

 The book is Chen’s personal reflections on what she calls “medicine’s most profound paradox…that a profession premised on caring for the ill also systematically depersonalizes dying.”

The book is Chen’s personal reflections on what she calls “medicine’s most profound paradox…that a profession premised on caring for the ill also systematically depersonalizes dying.”

 A collection of stories, poems, meditations, and reflections, written by a variety of healthcare professionals, explores what happens between the caring and the cared for and how interchangeable these roles can be.

A collection of stories, poems, meditations, and reflections, written by a variety of healthcare professionals, explores what happens between the caring and the cared for and how interchangeable these roles can be.

 Through 50 interviews with fellow physicians, this book explores what the best clinicians do to improve interactions with patients and families, including “do the little things”, “take time”, “be open and listen”, “let the patient explain” and “share authority”.

Through 50 interviews with fellow physicians, this book explores what the best clinicians do to improve interactions with patients and families, including “do the little things”, “take time”, “be open and listen”, “let the patient explain” and “share authority”.