How We Do Harm exposes the underbelly of healthcare today—the overtreatment of the rich, the under treatment of the poor, the financial conflicts of interest that determine the care that physicians' provide, insurance companies that don't demand the best (or even the least expensive) care, and pharmaceutical companies concerned with selling drugs, regardless of whether they improve health or do harm.
Dr. Otis Brawley is the chief medical and scientific officer of The American Cancer Society, an oncologist with a dazzling clinical, research, and policy career. How We Do Harm pulls back the curtain on how medicine is really practiced in America. Brawley tells of doctors who select treatment based on payment they will receive, rather than on demonstrated scientific results; hospitals and pharmaceutical companies that seek out patients to treat even if they are not actually ill (but as long as their insurance will pay); a public primed to swallow the latest pill, no matter the cost; and rising healthcare costs for unnecessary—and often unproven—treatments that we all pay for. Brawley calls for rational healthcare, healthcare drawn from results-based, scientifically justifiable treatments, and not just the peddling of hot new drugs.
Brawley's personal history – from a childhood in the gang-ridden streets of black Detroit, to the green hallways of Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest public hospital in the U.S., to the boardrooms of The American Cancer Society—results in a passionate view of medicine and the politics of illness in America - and a deep understanding of healthcare today. How We Do Harm is his well-reasoned manifesto for change.
"A heartfelt, sincere, and broad-ranging collection of voices from the depths of struggle in medical education. You will find here doubts, anger, surprise, sometimes naivete--and you will also find hope."--Atul Gawande, M.D., author of Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
"This vibrant collection celebrates the diversity of medical trainees' experiences and brings to the forefront voices too often marginalized in medicine. Testament to the changing face of the profession, this volume reminds both healers and patients that medicine's strengths arise from the rich variety of its practitioners."--Sayantani DasGupta, MD, MPH, author of Her Own Medicine: A Woman's Journey from Student to Doctor
"The book has tremendous educational value and could be used as a catalyst for change."--Maureen S. O'Leary, MBA, RN, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
"In these beautifully written and deeply honest essays, medical students share a commitment to humanity that heals the wounds of isolation and reveals the power of diversity in the service of life. What I Learned in Medical School is a special book. Read it. It will make you proud to know your doctor."--Rachel Naomi Remen, author ofKitchen Table Wisdom
"An intriguing collection of strong and varied voices from the next generation of doctors. The narratives in this book challenge our assumptions about medical education and what makes a good physician, while reminding us, by their power, variety, and sincerity, of the many different roads that can be followed into medicine. The reader comes away with an appreciation for the richness and complexity that broadening the traditional profile of medicine and doctors brings to the profession and its practices."--Perri Klass, MD, author of A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student
"This wonderful, thoughtful, and sometimes bitterly humorous collection of personal stories from medical students details what the medical practitioners of the future think about the medical establishment and its brutal educational program. The process of becoming an MD alienates many but builds a shared belief that struggle builds strength for a rewarding professional future. Doctors and patients alike will find reading about these journeys a fascinating experience."--Frances K. Conley, M.D., author of Walking Out on the Boys and Professor Emerita of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine
A hauntingly moving memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and the first-year medical student who cuts her open
Christine Montross was a nervous first-year medical student, standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class, preparing herself for what was to come. Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags is shocking no matter how long you've prepared yourself, but a strange thing happened when Montross met her cadaver. Instead of being disgusted by her, she was utterly intrigued-intrigued by the person the woman once was, humbled by the sacrifice she had made in donating her body to science, fascinated by the strange, unsettling beauty of the human form. They called her Eve. This is the story of Montross and Eve-the student and the subject-and the surprising relationship that grew between them.
Body of Work is a mesmerizing, rarely seen glimpse into the day-to-day life of a medical student-yet one that follows naturally in the footsteps of recent highly successful literary renderings of the mysteries of medicine such as Atul Gawande's Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science. Christine Montross was a poet long before she became a doctor and brings an uncommon perspective to the emotional difficulty of the first year of medical school-the dispiriting task of remaining clinical and detached while in the anatomy lab and the struggle with the line you've crossed by violating another's body once you leave it.
Montross was so affected by her experience with Eve that she undertook to learn more about the history of cadavers and the study of anatomy. She visited an autopsy lab in Ireland and the University of Padua in Italy where Vesalius, a forefather of anatomy, once studied; she learned about body snatchers and grave-robbers and anatomists who practiced their work on live criminals. Her disturbing, often entertaining anecdotes enrich this exquisitely crafted memoir, endowing an eerie beauty to the world of a doctor-in-training. Body of Work is an unforgettable examination of the mysteries of the human body and a remarkable look at our relationship with both the living and the dead.