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February 16, 2013 0 Comments

Telling Stories About Patients & Doctors

It’s now been 3 weeks, 3 days, and 33 hours since the launch of A History of the Present Illness and so far it seems that the book and its message are both resonating with patients and doctors, readers and writers, which is to say, it seems to be resonating with people.

In the spirit of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, here are “a few of my favorite things” that people have said:

FROM DOCTORS

“If your in search of fantastic literature (Yes, I said literature and not a series of stories told by a physician) than A History of the Present Illness is a must read. Does Louise really have time to doctor? If her writing wasn’t fraught with such an accurate and profound understanding of what I have experienced, I would surely question whether one who has spent an inordinate amount of time learning how to be an MD could emote so eloquently. There is so much good here…”

— Jordan Grumet MD In My Humble Opinon [Btw, if you want to read a doctor who thinks and feels and writes very well, and who is influencing medicine via his blog, the I highly recommend IMHO, and yes, I felt this way long before I learned Jordan would do me the honor of writing a review.]

“I read the first story and it changed my perspective on my patient interactions”

— a colleague who will remain nameless since I am quoting a person email

“Louise Aronson is an exceptional writer. Although her new collection contains many “doctor stories” in the tradition of another great physician-writer, William Carlos Williams, it would be a mistake to pigeonhole them as such. These are stories about human beings facing difficult situations — illness and death but also bad marriages, rebellious children and loneliness. The characters come from a variety of backgrounds… And true-to-life, they don’t find easy answers to their problems. We as readers watch them struggle to navigate and make sense of life’s murkiness and can’t help but sympathize….Louise Aronson is as good as Williams, Lahiri and Munro too. I bet many of these stories end up as staples in the best anthologies.”

— David Biro MD PhD Amazon Review

FROM REVIEWS

“Aronson’s examination of medical culture in stories, of the brutality and tenderness at home and hospital, is a gem. [Her] voice is tender and one from which I hope we’ll hear more histories in the future.”

Washington Independent Review of Books

“Aronson effectively illustrates just how jumbled life can be. Hope is limping barely one step ahead of sadness. Human devotion and division, responsibility to self and others are only a smidgen of the subject matter examined by talented and knowledgeable Aronson.”

Booklist

“[A History of the Present Illness] is stunning. It’s what you hope a book will be: engaging in a can’t-put-it-down way, an effortless read with natural breaks, deeply affecting, and thought-provoking with no easy answers. It draws you in at the first line, which was much commented on at the reading : “She lies in bed the way a letter lies in an envelope”, depicting an older woman in the end stages of dementia…These stories, all fiction, go deep into the most personal experiences and stories of these lives, and doctors are not the majority. By doing so, they become the most universal of tales about how illness can be complex for everyone involved.”

–Anna Chodos, GeriPal

FROM READERS

“This is hands down the best book I’ve read in a long, long time. Am looking forward to reading much more of Louise Aronson in the years to come.”

— T.J. via Amazon

“A History of The Present Illness is a remarkable read, quietly attesting to the triumphs and failures of the American health care system. Forget what you think you know of medicine from watching Grey’s Anatomy or General Hospital. In real life, caring for people is much messier than either show can portray.”

— Shelley Rae Book’d Out

“This book simply took my breath away…I give it a full five stars, mostly because I know enough about the field of medicine to know that the author has completely nailed it in this collection – she has written a book of such authenticity that it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction – it’s simply the truth.

— Michelle via Amazon

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Resources:

New York Times Health: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/ and http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/

Health in Aging: http://www.healthinaging.org/

Family Caregiver Alliance: http://www.caregiver.org/

Talking to Your Doctor: http://www.nih.gov/clearcommunication/talktoyourdoctor.htm

Kaiser Health News: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/

NYU Literature, Arts and Medicine Database: http://litmed.med.nyu.edu/Main?action=new

Physician/student/health professional resources

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