It is through writing that many doctors have plumbed the depths and richness of their experiences and, in turn, used this to explore their patients’ inner lives.
The Pen and the Stethoscope is a unique collection of fiction and non-fiction by doctor–writers that gives us a fascinating look behind the doctor’s mask, and gets inside the minds of those who deal with enormous existential issues and traumatic situations on a daily basis.
These stories canvass emotional experiences acutely felt by doctors: an awareness of our mortality, of how humanity interplays with medicine, of the weight of responsibility carried by the profession. They bring into sharp focus, in many cases, the point of view of the patient, illuminating the experience of grief, trauma, illness, and ageing that doctors witness through their work.
With a foreword by Jerome Groopman, contributors include Oliver Sacks, Atul Gawande, Irvin Yalom, Jacinta Halloran, Abraham Verghese, Gabriel Weston, Peter Goldsworthy, John Murray, Robert Jay Lifton, Danielle Ofri, Perri Klass, Nick Earls, Ethan Canin, Sandeep Jauhar, and Leah Kaminsky.
'The beauty of this collection is that it speaks of the bittersweet experience of medical practice. Kaminsky ... has given us a precious glimpse into the world of a doctor, both as they practice and as they imagine themselves to be.'
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'a unique collection...the stories canvass emotional experiences acutely felt by doctors: an awareness of our mortality, of how humanity interplays with medicine, of the weight of responsibility carried by the profession. They bring into sharp focus the experience of the patient, illuminating the experience of grief, trauma, illness and aging that doctors witness through their work.'
'I was reading this book when I personally experienced visiting an emergency room. The incident reinforced my feeling that we all need to read this compilation of non-fictional and fictional pieces ... The fictional tales are very revealing. Their intimate knowledge, of various diseases, gives rise to chilling stories which allow the mantle of professionalism to drop and lay bare the raw human behind it.'
F.J. O'Dwyer, Toowoomba Chronicle
'Kaminsky is an astute editor ... a collection of professional writings that do justice to its contributors' skills with the pen and the stethoscope.'
'This remarkable collection melds science and the soul, logic with feeling, knowledge with wisdom. The voices that the reader hears are among the most prominent in the constellation of physician-writers. What makes these writers so compelling is not only the fluidity of their prose and the intensity of their focus, not only their literary and narrative skills, but also their remarkable degree of self-awareness.'
from the foreword by Jerome Groopman
'Doctors and writers are very much alike in many ways: they both capture and cure, and sometimes complicate, the human condition. This collection … captures the literary–medical connection in a magnificent and all-encompassing way. Each piece is compelling reading. And Jerome Groopman's introduction blends perfectly with Kaminsky's vision of the book, which integrates and encapsulates the essence of this reading experience — "science and the soul".'
Lee Gutkind, founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction Magazine, author of Truckin’ With Sam
'Everyone is fascinated by writing. Everyone is fascinated by medical practice. In this remarkably creative book, Leah Kaminsky combines the two, and gives a forum to some fascinating and gifted writers, none less so than herself, to write imaginatively and with enchanting insight about the physician’s experience, given that all the contributors are physicians. This is a book for doctors and patients — that is, the lot of us — to relish.'