Monday, December 1, 2008

Five best: books about doctors and patients

In 2006 Jerome Groopman named a five best list of books about doctors and patients for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (1886).

With fine brush strokes, Tolstoy paints the portrait of an ambitious and upwardly mobile magistrate, Ivan Ilyich, who suddenly comes down with a mysterious malady. The restrained prose works to amplify a chilling message: Severe illness strips away life's fa├žade and forces us to examine our inner core. Ilyich, at the cusp of death, realizes that he has squandered his life by pursuing what is insubstantial. But Tolstoy affirms that while there may no longer be hope for the body, there is, until the last breath, hope for the soul. It is a lesson best learned while still healthy.
Read about all five titles on Groopman's list.

--Marshal Zeringue