New Cover for Immortal Bird and Physician Letter on the Importance of Character
Below is the new cover for the just released trade paperback of Immortal Bird.
Meanwhile I continue to get reader letters and am behind on posting so am including an interesting physician letter about the importance of character and taking personal responsibility in practicing good medicine.
Dear Mr. Weber, I am a practicing physician in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I am sad to say also a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. . I read Dr. Groopman’s review of Immortal Bird and then purchased and read the book myself. It has greatly affected my thoughts about my own life and about the practice of medicine. In 1967 when I attended medical school, there were few women in this field and my parents felt so strongly about the error of my choice, that they refused to support my tuition and board. When I applied to medical school, I was told many times that I did not deserve a place in view of the fact that I would just marry and drop out, thereby wasting my education. So in reading your book I was greatly saddened about the care that Damon received from a team of women physicians. Now 41 years later I continue to practice medicine and was greatly influenced by your book. My husband, also an older physician and still in practice, and I have discussed how we can prevent ourselves from falling into “thinking traps” – how we can avoid missing critical data either through affection for our patients and difficulty in imagining anything bad happening, or even more important through arrogance and thinking that we are experts and so “know it all. ” The only answer we can come up with is really taking time to think about our patients, their data and trying to go through all labs and xrays with care. This is time consuming and cannot be accomplished in the setting of the current “factory” approach to medicine. Both of our children are family doctors and our hearts ache to see them overwhelmed with too many patients, spending nights and weekends typing notes and checking labs. I refuse to see patients while typing on a computer and will continue to take my time until I am satisfied that I understand all that is necessary to make a proper assessment. If our administration will not permit this, then I will know I have to retire. Still the bottom line seems to be one of character – I think the kind of doctor I would wish for myself and my family – and would aspire to be myself – is one who really takes responsibility personally – who can’t rest if something is off – who examines their patients at each visit – and really and truly cares about them as people….
In the meantime, your book has helped me to look at my patients in a different light, to try to do more to see their perspective and to do my best to treat them as I would wish to be treated myself. Thank you for this gift.