Doctors Write

Physician, historian, and ethicist Robert Martensen discusses his book, A Life Worth Living: A Doctor’s Reflections on Illness in a High-Tech Era, on November 20, 2008 at the Plaza Branch. Read Dr. Martensen’s book or check out some others in the Library written by physicians about illness, the end of life, or their thoughts on medicine.

Illness & end of life | Doctors’ reflections

Illness & end of life

A Life Worth Living book jacket

A Life Worth Living: A Doctor's Reflections On Illness In a High-Tech Era
By Robert Martensen
Martensen, a physician, historian, and ethicist, draws on decades of experience with patients and friends to explore the life cycle of serious illness, from diagnosis to end of life.

How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter
By Sherwin B. Nuland
Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction In an age when death occurs in sterile seclusion and is cloaked in euphemism and taboo, How We Die is a vital revelation. Clearly, frankly, yet compassionately, it tells us how most of us are likely to die--and in doing so, suggests how we may live more fully and meaningfully. Written by a distinguished surgeon, this succeeds in restoring death to its ancient place in human existence.

The Measure of Our Days: New Beginnings at Life's End
By Jerome Groopman
Why does the knowledge of having a life-threatening illness ennoble some people, yet defeat others? How can we apply to our own lives the lessons learned during this extraordinary time? In The Measure of Our Days, Jerome Groopman, a physician and staff writer for The New Yorker, explores these central human questions through portraits of eight patients who have gazed into the face of death.

Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
By Pauline W. Chen
From her first dissection of a cadaver to the first time she pronounced a patient dead, Chen combines personal experience with clinical expertise in this riveting, deeply nuanced critique of the medical profession.

Doctors’ reflections

The Uncertain Art book jacket

The Uncertain Art: Thoughts on a Life in Medicine
By Sherwin B. Nuland
Long-time physician Sherwin B. Nuland presents a provocative and stimulating collection of stories illustrating the vagaries of medical practice over the years.

Catharsis: On the Art of Medicine
By Andrzej Szczeklik
The ancient Greeks used the term "catharsis" for the cleansing of both the body by medicine and the soul by art. In this inspiring book, internationally renowned cardiologist Andrzej Szczeklik draws deeply on our humanistic heritage to describe the artistry and the mystery of being a doctor. Moving between examples both ancient and contemporary, both mythological and scientific, Catharsis explores how medicine and art share common roots and pose common challenges.

Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
By Atul Gawande
In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel's edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is – uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.

How Doctors Think
By Jerome Groopman
A New Yorker staff writer, bestselling author, and professor at Harvard Medical School unravels the mystery of how doctors figure out the best treatments – or fail to do so. This book describes the warning signs of flawed medical thinking and offers intelligent questions patients can ask.

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance
By Atul Gawande
The New York Times bestselling author examines the complex and risk-filled medical profession and how those involved progress from merely good to great. Gawande provides rare insight and offers an honest firsthand account of his own life as a surgeon.

Book descriptions provided by BookLetters.