Practicing physicians are continually reading up on the newest medical discovery and the latest trends in the medical world. While this might not be the most enjoyable part of their day, there are some books that not only offer new insights to physicians but are also entertaining. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten, highly rated books that are sure to get you thinking and entertain you along the way. We hope you can add a few to your reading list.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
This compelling, often hilarious book explores the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. Mary Roach does a great job sharing the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the interesting story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.
“One of the funniest and most unusual books of the year….Gross, educational, and unexpectedly sidesplitting.”―Entertainment Weekly
Hospital by Julie Salamon
Hospital follows a year in the life of Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, which serves a diverse multicultural demographic. Unraveling the financial, ethical, technological, sociological, and cultural challenges encountered every day, bestselling author Julie Salamon tracks the individuals who make this complex hospital run-from doctors, patients, and administrators to nurses, ambulance drivers, cooks, and cleaners. Drawing on her skills as an award-winning interviewer, observer, and social critic, Salamon reveals the dynamic universe of small and large concerns and personalities that, taken together, determine the nature of care in America.
Kill as Few Patients as Possible by Oscar London
“This oft-quoted all-time favorite of the medical community will gladden–and strengthen–the hearts of patients, doctors, and anyone entering the medical study, internship, or practice. With unassailable logic and rapier wit, the sage Dr. Oscar London muses on the challenges and joys of doctoring and imparts timeless truths, reality checks, and poignant insights gleaned from 30 years of general practice–while never taking himself (or his profession) too seriously.” A must for your reading list!
How We Live by Sherwin Nuland.
“How We Live is filled with gripping medical case histories: a woman is pulled back from the brink of death from inexplicable internal bleeding; another patient triumphs over breast cancer; the “routine” removal of a polyp triggers a nearly lethal medical crisis. For Nuland, each of these cases serves to illustrate the extraordinary responsiveness and adaptability of the human organism. We learn how the aorta’s baroreceptors monitor blood pressure and respond to its minutest fluctuations. We follow the intricate chain of electrochemical command that makes us leap out of the path of a speeding car. We discover why the stomach—which is capable of breaking down everything from porridge to pizza—refrains from digesting itself. Informed by sympathy for human suffering and erudition that includes poetry and the Talmud as well as the medical canon, How We Live is science writing of the rarest kind—lucid, poetic, and genuinely uplifting.”
Letters to a Young Doctor by Richard Selzer
“Highly candid, insightful, and unexpectedly humorous essays on both the brutality and the beauty of the profession in which saving and losing lives is all in a day’s work. A timeless collection by the “best of the writing surgeons” (Chicago Tribune).”
When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery by Frank Vertosick, Jr.
“With poignant insight and humor, Frank Vertosick Jr., MD, describes some of the greatest challenges of his career, including a six-week-old infant with a tumor in her brain, a young man struck down in his prime by paraplegia, and a minister with a .22-caliber bullet lodged in his skull. Told through intimate portraits of Vertosick’s patients and unsparing yet fascinatingly detailed descriptions of surgical procedures, When the Air Hits Your Brain―the culmination of decades spent struggling to learn an unforgiving craft―illuminates both the mysteries of the mind and the realities of the operating room.”
A Stitch of Time: The Year a Brain Injury Changed My Language and Life by Lauren Marks
“Lauren Marks was twenty-seven, touring a show in Scotland with her friends when an aneurysm ruptured in her brain and left her fighting for her life. She woke up in a hospital soon after with serious deficiencies in her reading, speaking, and writing abilities, and an unfamiliar diagnosis: aphasia. This would be shocking news for anyone, but Lauren was a voracious reader, an actress, director, and dramaturg, and at the time of the event, pursuing her Ph.D. At any other period of her life, this diagnosis would have been a devastating blow. But she woke up…different.”
Blue Collar, Blue Scrubs: The Making of a Surgeon by Michael Collins
“…taking readers from his days as a construction worker to his entry into medical school, expertly infusing his journey to become a doctor with humanity, compassion, and humor. From the first time he delivers a baby to being surrounded by death and pain daily, Collins compellingly writes about how medicine makes him confront, in a profound and personal way, the nature of God and suffering―and how delicate life can be.”
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder
“In medical school, Paul Farmer found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Kidder’s magnificent account takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.” At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope and an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb “Beyond mountains there are mountains”–as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too.”
What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine by Danielle Ofri
“How do the stresses of medical life—from paperwork to grueling hours to lawsuits to facing death—affect the medical care that doctors can offer their patients? Digging deep into the lives of doctors, Ofri examines the daunting range of emotions—shame, anger, empathy, frustration, hope, pride, occasionally despair, and sometimes even love—that permeate the contemporary doctor-patient connection.”
This selection of books is sure to have a little bit of something for everyone. Not only do these books offer a respite from your usual scientific reading, but they provide insights into unique topics. Happy reading from MedCare Staffing!
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