- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Sasquatch Books; 1 edition (September 7, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1570613966
- ISBN-13: 978-1570613968
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,622,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Patients Taught Me: A Medical Student's Journey 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
A firsthand depiction of the hardships and rewards of medical school, this sensitive memoir may serve as a guide to help readers who are considering traversing that same path. Young's schooling taught her that "everything important comes from the patient's story." She predicates her perceptive memoir on just this lesson, as she exposes the unique life of a physician-to-be and the human chronicle behind the diseases she struggles to treat. Young's narrative takes the reader through her medical school rotations, where she describes such events as the helicopter evacuation of a dying man from an Eskimo village in Aniak, Alaska; her own near-fainting during a childbirth in Spokane, Washington; and the death of a Pocatello, Idaho, baby born with a rare disease. Young dissects the histories of these patients-almost all poor and mostly from rural settings-and reveals not only their medical dilemmas, but their personal and socioeconomic ones. Despite her sometimes over-earnest tone and the use of some medical terminology, most of her reflections are poignant, such as when she describes her "resigned solitude" amidst 36-hour, sleep-deprived shifts. Still, her medical accounts are the memoir's true highlights, and her stint through AIDS-ravished Swaziland offers the most captivating and heartbreaking chapter, providing a glimpse of the state of health in that Third World African country, and its disturbing implications for humanity.
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People are drawn to the medical profession for a plethora of reasons that usually have something to do with curing the sick or making sweeping social changes that enable individuals to enjoy better health and have improved access to medical care. Young confesses that her own motivation borrowed on all these themes. As she began medical school, she envisioned herself one day working in a big city's tough inner core, a champion of medical aid to the urban poor. The University of Washington Medical School, however, held a different promise for the idealistic medical hopeful. Young became involved in the school's rural internship program, which sent her to the remotest reaches of Alaska, Wyoming, and even South Africa. She candidly shares how reality collided with naive expectations when a chronically ill patient selected job over health, when she could only watch helplessly while a man died, and when she had to conduct wartime triage in a vain attempt to stretch an insufficient supply of pharmaceuticals. Donna Chavez
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