Flap Copy: An epic story told by a unique voice in American medicine, One Doctor describes life-changing experiences in the career of a distinguished physician. In riveting first-person prose, Dr. Brendan Reilly takes us to the front lines of medicine today. Whipsawed by daily crises and frustrations, Reilly must deal with several daunting challenges simultaneously: the extraordinary patients under his care on the teeming wards of a renowned teaching hospital; the life-threatening illnesses of both of his ninety-year-old parents; and the tragic memory of a cold case from long ago that haunts him still.
As Reilly’s patients and their families survive close calls, struggle with heartrending decisions, and confront the limits of medicine’s power to cure, One Doctor lays bare a fragmented, depersonalized, business-driven health-care system where real caring is hard to find. Every day, Reilly sees patients who fall through the cracks and suffer harm because they lack one doctor who knows them well and relentlessly advocates for their best interests.
Filled with fascinating characters in New York City and rural New England — people with dark secrets, mysterious illnesses, impossible dreams, and many kinds of courage — One Doctor tells their stories with sensitivity and empathy, reminding us of professional values once held dear by all physicians. But medicine has changed enormously during Reilly’s career, for both better and worse, and One Doctor is a cautionary tale about those changes. It is also a hopeful, inspiring account of medicine’s potential to improve people’s lives, Reilly’s quest to understand the “truth” about doctoring, and a moving testament to the difference one doctor can make.
Review: This is SUCH a great book. I wasn’t sure what to expect, exactly, but it is an excellent melding of two very different types of books: a warm, personal story with memorable characters and deep emotions, and an informative call-to-action about what’s going on in the medical world today. That both of these books can exist between the same two covers is extremely impressive.
Between case studies of patients seen in private practice and hospital settings, Dr. Reilly lays out the situation modern medicine has created – multiple specialists, talking to no one but the patient, who doesn’t have the background (and in some cases, the capacity) to keep things straight between them all. We have all experienced this to some degree or another, and we’ve heard the calls for pharmacists to be sure to check new prescriptions against a patient’s history for possible interactions (but even there – how many of you may not have one regular pharmacy where you go? That’s true for me, and even when I usually visit the same one, I rarely speak with an actual pharmacist.). Dr. Reilly’s call for patients to have one general doctor among a host of specialists is an important one, and it’s one I hope future doctors read – general practice internists are becoming harder and harder to find.
This is a book that made me want to go to medical school, or possibly become a politician to help reform the way our broken health care system cares for people. I have more dealings with the medical profession than most, perhaps, and I actually feel better prepared for that now that I’ve read this book. A+
Source: Review copy from Atria Books