When Doctors Become Patients

Hardcover | November 19, 2007

byRobert Klitzman

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For many doctors, their role as powerful healer precludes thoughts of ever getting sick themselves. When they do, it initiates a profound shift of awareness-- not only in their sense of their selves, which is invariably bound up with the "invincible doctor" role, but in the way that they viewtheir patients and the doctor-patient relationship. While some books have been written from first-person perspectives on doctors who get sick-- by Oliver Sacks among them-- and TV shows like "House" touch on the topic, never has there been a "systematic, integrated look" at what the experience islike for doctors who get sick, and what it can teach us about our current health care system and more broadly, the experience of becoming ill. The psychiatrist Robert Klitzman here weaves together gripping first-person accounts of the experience of doctors who fall ill and see the other side of the coin, as a patient. The accounts reveal how dramatic this transformation can be-- a spiritual journey for some, a radical change of identityfor others, and for some a new way of looking at the risks and benefits of treatment options. For most however it forever changes the way they treat their own patients. These questions are important not just on a human interest level, but for what they teach us about medicine in America today.While medical technology advances, the health care system itself has become more complex and frustrating, and physician-patient trust is at an all-time low. The experiences offered here are unique resource that point the way to a more humane future.

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From the Publisher

For many doctors, their role as powerful healer precludes thoughts of ever getting sick themselves. When they do, it initiates a profound shift of awareness-- not only in their sense of their selves, which is invariably bound up with the "invincible doctor" role, but in the way that they viewtheir patients and the doctor-patient relat...

Robert Klitzman is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University.

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Kobo ebook|Mar 16 2015

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 6.3 × 9.29 × 0.98 inPublished:November 19, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195327675

ISBN - 13:9780195327670

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPART I: Becoming a Patient. 2. "Magic White Coats": Forms of Denial and Other Internal Obstacles to Becoming a Patient3. "The Medical Self": Self-Doctoring and Choosing Doctors4. "Screw-Ups" in the System and in Care: External Obstacles Faced in Becoming Patients5. "They treated me as if I were dead": Peripheralization and Discrimination6. "Coming Out" as Patients: Disclosures of IllnessPART II: Being a Doctor After Being A Patient. 7. Double Lens: Contrasting Views and Uses of Medical Knowledge8. "Being Strong": Workaholism, Burnout, and Coping9. "Once a Doctor, Always a Doctor?": Retirement10. Touched by the Light: Spiritual Beliefs and their ObstaclesPART III: Interacting with Their Patients. 11. "Us vs. Them:" Treating Patients Differently12. Improving Education: Can Empathy be Taught?13. Conclusions: The Professional SelfReferences. Index.

Editorial Reviews

"Anyone in healthcare will be moved and benefit immensely from this book. The author is a compassionate and well read clinician of both psychiatry and of the human spirit...Every chapter is engaging...This is recommended reading for everyone in healthcare. This is one of the best books ofthe year."--Doody's