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Death of the Good Doctor -- Lessons from the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic Paperback – January 13, 2012
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... [Scannell's] moving and beautifully written memoir...makes an important contribution to the early history of the epidemic, when medical authorities and politicians were still discussing quarantining people with AIDS and other prejudiced ideas. -- Book Marks, March, 2000 --
...In Death of the Good Doctor, Scannell glides effortlessly from compassionate physician to skillful memoirist.... -- New York Blade, by Karen Mancuso. March, 2000.
Kate Scannell is the rare doctor who has been transformed by her patients. In this irresistable, informative, and enormously moving book, she tells us not only her own story, but theirs. -- Gloria Steinem
Most of the essays in this book transcend even the best of "Oprahs T.V. Book Moments." -- Lambda Book Report. May 2000. Page 27. Reviewed by Thom Nickels.
This is one of the most startling and beautifully written books I've ever read from a doctor... -- By Pat Holt, NORTHERN CALIFORNIA INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS ASSOCIATION
About the Author
Kate Scannell has published broadly in lay and professional journals, most recently focusing on the sociopolitical and ethical dimensions of health care. For more than ten years she has written a syndicated opinion column for several Bay Area newspapers. She is the author of the memoir Death of the Good Doctor—Lessons from the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic (Cleis Press, 1999) and the novel Flood Stage (2010). She practices medicine in Northern California and is board certified in Geriatrics, Internal Medicine, and Rheumatology.
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The stories of the men and women dealing with AIDS, this doctor, the patients, the family, two nurses, seemed so true and wise they were heart breaking and transformative. The gradual revelation of who she is, personally, fit perfectly and much like a mystery in a novel--this book is a page turner in the tradition of a novel that can hardly be put down, rendered all the more compelling in being about real people.
Memory is usually softened by a need to feel good about ourselves. She has the gift that reminds me of Amy Quindlen, of a superb memory, having kept notes, and telling the truth as she sees it without embellishment to make herself the hero of the story. This book is worth reading for the storytelling, the truth, the history of a change in our culture, and the potential to have your heart broken open, the only upside I find in grief. Far from maudlin, more understated than exaggerated, her book is as good as it gets--the truth at last.
In the last chapter she reflects on her five years of experience on an AIDS ward and how it helps her cope with her discovery that she has cancer.
When I read this book, I felt like she was next to me in person telling me these stories. I laughed; I got sad; I felt hopeful. This is a testament to human life, and I would recommend this easy read to anyone.