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Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy Paperback – August 7, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0801884795 ISBN-10: 0801884799 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition (August 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801884799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801884795
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,510,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The power of these narratives shakes the reader, who cannot but apprehend health care from a new, individual perspective and commit him- or herself to make their part of the system better and more sensitive.

(Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D.)

To begin to understand the many challenges facing the U.S. health care system, you could spend years in the shadow of doctors, patients, medical students, and legislators. Or you could just read this book. Narrative Matters opens a window into what's happening in American medicine through the minds and pens of those in the middle of it all. At times insightful, depressing, uplifting, and direct, Narrative Matters accomplishes a rare feat—a book as well-written as it is necessary.

(Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., Baltimore City Commissioner of Health)

Narrative Matters showcases some of health care's most stunning writing. The stories are moving, eloquent, and often unforgettable.

(Atul Gawande, M.D., author of Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science)

For any reader enthralled by the literature of medicine, these fascinating, compelling, and beautifully written doctor stories were written expressly for you.

(Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., The University of Michigan Medical School, author of When Germs Travel and Quarantine!)

Narrative does matter. That’s why these writers are so successful in making the reader feel and respond to their frustration, anger, pain, sadness, confusion, joy, or loving kindness by writing personal narratives of health care. Had they addressed us on a purely intellectual level, we might have developed a clearer idea about how to create a more equitable health care system, but we’d have less motivation, less passion, for the task. Narrative Matters is a splendid achievement. This wonderful collection will make a big difference in the way the reader thinks about many of the important issues facing health care today. I suspect this book will do a great deal to enhance public awareness of the human stories at the center of our U.S. health care system.

(Jack Coulehan, M.D., M.P.H., Institute for Medicine in Contemporary Society, State University of New York at Stony Brook, and co-editor of Primary Care: More Poems by Physicians)

A doctor kneels on a highway and watches a child die from a completely preventable accident, as the boy's father wails, 'Wake up, my son!' A baby dies because of language barriers and bureaucracy in the clinic. A nurse quits in despair, stopped by the system from doing the right thing. A governor makes a wrenching choice between a world-class transplant program and basic care for 600,000 people. If these true stories of needless tragedy don't convince you our health care system is broken, you must have a heart of stone.

(Melvin J. Konner, Ph.D., M.D., author of Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School)

Narrative Matters shows how health care policies affect real people. Policy loves charts and statistics. These stories fill in the conflicts, the emotions, the frequent pain and occasional joys of being somewhere on one of those charts. Numbers make no moral demands on us; only faces require a response. In these stories, we see the faces that health care policy is all about.

(Arthur W. Frank, Ph.D., University of Calgary, author of The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics and The Renewal of Generosity: Illness, Medicine, and How to Live)

This compilation is unique... because of its strong relevance to today's health policy... These narratives matter.

(Galit M. Sacajiu JAMA)

Very helpful... An essential library volume.

(Karen Jaynes Williams Journal of Immigrant Minority Health)

This volume is relevant to researchers, clinicians, and health care policy makers, and I recommend it highly.

(Scott A. Strassels American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy)

About the Author

Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D., is Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy and professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University and editor of the "Narrative Matters" section in Health Affairs. Ellen Ficklen is a senior editor at Health Affairs and co-editor of "Narrative Matters." Kyna Rubin is an independent writer and the former co-editor of "Narrative Matters."

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Baergen on December 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
As this book's preface reminds us, the plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence." However, first-person accounts can do much to uncover the realities behind statistics and policy statements. The stories collected here, all from the highly-respected journal Health Affairs, are enormously valuable in this regard. They open up for the reader the conflicts, shortcomings, and heartaches with which our healthcare system is filled. I'll be using this as a supplementary textbook in all the medical ethics classes I teach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pranay Sinha on April 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you're a medical student/doctor and are trying to keep the writer within you going, this is a brilliant read. Not only does it provide great examples of medical narratives, it also ruminates on the necessity, value, and mechanics of the medical narrative.
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Format: Paperback
This book provides solid examples of health care practices in the US. Any one who is interested in a more Holistic view of their own health or the health care system would find value in reading it.
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