Columbia University Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Klitzman interviewed more than 70 physicians who have experienced serious illness, such as depression, cancer, heart disease, H.I.V., hepatitis or various other illnesses. Then he organized the material into chapters that explored particular aspects of illness, such as "Self-doctoring and Choosing Doctors" and "Disclosures of Illness."
Included are stories of physicians who denied obvious symptoms, took unnecessary risks and didn't comply with therapies. These stories highlight a topic of particular interest to me: The gap between patients knowing what to do and actually doing it. [They also made me realize I'd been too hard on myself for years after a few bonehead moves early on in my survivorship!]
I have felt a powerful need or desire to use my illness as a platform to advocate for patients. I do it by sharing my View From the Other Side of the Stethoscope with my colleagues, hoping they will listen because of our shared background.
Now I see that mine is a common response. The struggles of these wounded healers led many to devote time and energy to improving the education of other clinicians. Dr. Klitzman furthers this effort with this book, saying, "While I do not know if empathy can be taught, these doctors’ experiences can perhaps be more poignant and compelling to other physicians.”