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When Doctors Become Patients Hardcover – November 30, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0195327670 ISBN-10: 0195327675 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195327675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195327670
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Dr. Klitzman has captured masterfully what 'sick' doctors hide not only from others but from themselves--their fears, hopes, practical strategies of survival in their jobs and families, and--most powerfully, their 'unscientific' approach to the world of the spirit. The descriptions are rich, deep, sad, funny, and powerful. Klitzman has done a marvelous job in painting the portrait of 'the wounded healer'--the person within each of us doctors. To learn that the suffering of illness can lead a doctor toward more mutual, compassionate connection with patients is an affirming, even redeeming moment."--Dr. Samuel Shem, author of The House of God, Mount Misery, and Bill W. and Dr. Bob


"Who heals the healers? We all benefit from the answer."--Mehmet Oz, author of You: The Owner's Manual


"Seneca famously said, 'The wounded doctor heals best,' and Robert Klitzman's beautifully researched and intimate book examines this idea. He combines his own experience as physician and patient with in-depth interviews with a fantastic array of ailing doctors. As it turns out, doctors can be disadvantaged by the anxiety attached to mortality, but they can also grow and transform themselves when they know both sides of the medical equation."--Andrew Solomon, author of Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression


"A comprehensive and deeply empathetic study of the wounded healer as patient, colleague, and person."--Peter D. Kramer, author of Freud: Inventor of the Modern Mind and Listening to Prozac


"Dr. Robert Klitzman, himself a physician who has faced serious illness, gives a fascinating 360 degree portrait of what happens when those charged with healing others unexpectedly find themselves in the vulnerable role of patient."--Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education


"Anyone in healthcare will be moved and benefit immensely from this book. The author is a compassionate and well read clinician of both psychiatry and of the human spirit...Every chapter is engaging...This is recommended reading for everyone in healthcare. This is one of the best books of the year."--Doody's


"Klitzman...is part of a contemporary group of reflective doctors who, through their writings, contribute to the less palpable but nevertheless crucial moral, social, and experiential dimensions of medicine."--British Medical Journal


"A great strength of the book lies in the richness of the patients' words, through which the reader learns firsthand that illness is transforming and that 'human lives are messy and complex.'"--New England Journal of Medicine


"Klitzman's work is an important contribution to physical training and patient care. The wisdom shared in When Doctors Become Patients holds potential to make all physicians better caregivers."--JAMA


"This is a thoughtful and carefully written book. Read it. You will not come away unaffected."--Journal of Clinical Investigation


"[Klitzman] interviewed more than 50 doctors who suffered from such diseases as HIV, Hodgkin's lymphoma, breast cancer, bipolar disorder and leukemia. Identified only by pseudonyms, they bared their souls to Klitzman. The result is a remarkable book,When Doctors Become Patients, which helps illuminate the medical profession's mind-set under duress."--The Associated Press


"Dr. Robert Klitzman, himself a physician who has faced serious illness, gives a fascinating 360 degree portrait of what happens when those charged with healing others unexpectedly find themselves in the vulnerable role of patient."--Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education


"A comprehensive and deeply empathetic study of the wounded healer as patient, colleague, and person."--Peter D. Kramer, author of Freud: Inventor of the Modern Mind and Listening to Prozac


"Seneca famously said, 'The wounded doctor heals best,' and Robert Klitzman's beautifully researched and intimate book examines this idea. He combines his own experience as physician and patient with in-depth interviews with a fantastic array of ailing doctors. As it turns out, doctors can be disadvantaged by the anxiety attached to mortality, but they can also grow and transform themselves when they know both sides of the medical equation."--Andrew Solomon, author of Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression


"Who heals the healers? We all benefit from the answer."--Mehmet Oz, author of You: The Owner's Manual


"Dr. Klitzman has captured masterfully what 'sick' doctors hide not only from others but from themselves--their fears, hopes, practical strategies of survival in their jobs and families, and--most powerfully, their 'unscientific' approach to the world of the spirit. The descriptions are rich, deep, sad, funny, and powerful. Klitzman has done a marvelous job in painting the portrait of 'the wounded healer'--the person within each of us doctors. To learn that the suffering of illness can lead a doctor toward more mutual, compassionate connection with patients is an affirming, even redeeming moment."--Dr. Samuel Shem, author of The House of God, Mount Misery, and Bill W. and Dr. Bob


"Anyone in healthcare will be moved and benefit immensely from this book. The author is a compassionate and well read clinician of both psychiatry and of the human spirit...Every chapter is engaging...This is recommended reading for everyone in healthcare. This is one of the best books of the year."--Doody's


"Klitzman...is part of a contemporary group of reflective doctors who, through their writings, contribute to the less palpable but nevertheless crucial moral, social, and experiential dimensions of medicine."--British Medical Journal


"This is a thoughtful and carefully written book. Read it. You will not come away unaffected."--Journal of Clinical Investigation


"When Doctors Become Patients addresses the ethos and pathos of a universal but frequently taboo subject for physicians. Robert Klitzman, a psychiatrist and bioethicist at Columbia University, has composed a print documentary consisting of the distilled and interwoven narratives of nearly 50 physician-patients combined with the author's deft analysis and measured self-reflection. The reading of Dr. Klitzman's thoughtfully conceived and constructed book is instructive and therapeutic as it allows the reader to comtemplate his or her own responses to illness and suffering...we glimpse in Dr. Klitzman's book a transformed "Home of Women and Men" in which the humanity, hopes, uncertainty, fears, and frailty common to both doctors and patients might be addressed with compassion, dignity, humility, and reverence."--Peter Lewis, MD as reviewed in Family Medicine


"What is unique here is that this is the first study to systematically document the complex, emotionally difficult process by which doctors assume the role of patient, replete with struggles over issues related to their mortality, physical limitations, and possible retirement from clinical practice...Klitzman's interviews are as rich in detail as they are emotionally poignant...When Doctors Become Patients offers us a rare peek into the complexities associated with dedicating one's professional life to medicine and healing, all the while struggling with a serious, often fatal illness...a fascinating analysis..."--Sociology of Health and Illness


About the Author

Robert Klitzman is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University.

More About the Author

I am a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, where I direct the Masters of Bioethics Program.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is dangerous for a medico-phobe like me. I avoid doctors. The only medication in our house is for the dog.

I was expecting a book in the style of Atul Gawande or Jerome Groopman -- a novelistic style that's an easy read. Instead Klitzman writes in a scholarly style, so the book reads like a sociology research paper. That's not necessarily bad, but unfortunately might deter some readers. And that would be a shame, because we all need to read this book.

Frankly, it's scary. Doctors are shocked to realize how error-prone the system can be. They probably identify errors that the rest of us won't even notice. They get caught up in the indignities and hassles of medical treatment. And for the most part, they're surprised.

What surprised me was the passivity of some of the doctors. One woman wrote about a female medical resident who was in way over her head. She refused to call for help, saying, "I'm the doctor." The nurses finally intervened, brushing the resident aside and carrying out the appropriate procedures.

Why didn't this doctor-patient report the resident to the hospital board? That resident is a danger to every patient she encounters.

Other doctors admit they fall into the role of trying to please their doctors, thereby giving up on honest communication.

A major missing component to this book is a section on implications for ordinary non-doctor patients. Klitzman does include a few pages with the subtitle 'Lessons for Patients" but it's not really helpful.

I become extremely frustrated with the advice to remember that doctors are "only human.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Helen Benedict on March 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
At last, a book that shows that doctors do have hearts, can be compassionate, and why that matters. One cannot wish illness on every doctor, but one can wish every doctor would read this book -- and patients, too. Written with grace, wit and honesty, this is a beautiful and important book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome VINE VOICE on June 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book puts a human perspective to physicians, giving the reader a better understanding of the tolls and dysfunctions that come with the job.

It was interesting to read how physicians changed as practitioners once they experienced being a patient first hand. Equally interesting how physicians used their status to obtain better care within the system.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harold J. Bershady on December 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The subject is of interest and examined from a variety of psychological and social perspectives. The author knows what he's talking about, and he lets the reader know that as well. But the writing is poor -- prolix and not well organized. The result is that the book is burdensome to read. If If the subject is of sufficient interest, one goes through the book dutifully, but the subject has to be of considerable interest to slog through it all. Pity, because this could have been a very good book had a good editor worked with the obviously thoughtful and intelligent author.
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