Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Books that make men cry

What a stunning book. A bright, talented young neurosurgeon recounts his journey into medicine and the story of his all too brief career cut short by his cancer and then his grappling with death.

Like Kalanithi I believe in the power of literature and would love every doctor to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest this book. It's almost a one-sitting read so beautifully written and so thought provoking. The pilgrimage from dynamic doctor to weak, helpless patient is not easy, but the insights gained would enlighten any practicing doctor-especially  those who haven't had to grapple with serious illness in their own lives or close loved ones.

Patients are our best teachers, and when a doctor becomes a patient he or she is often given a unique perspective which can change one's practice for ever. If Henry Marsh (he of Do no harm) thinks every doctor should read this book, I'm not going to disagree. Did I cry? Yep, sitting in Cafe Nero, as the epilogue described his final days and hours, I welled up, thinking of Kalanithi's story, my own mortality and how precious life is.



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