The Song of Our Scars by Haider WarraichA doctor's personal and unsparing account of how modern medicine's failure to understand pain has made care less effective In The Song of Our Scars, physician Haider Warraich offers a bold reexamination of the nature of pain, not as a simple physical sensation, but as a cultural experience. Warraich, himself a sufferer of chronic pain, considers the ways our notions of pain have been shaped not just by science but by politics and power, by whose suffering mattered and whose didn't. He weaves a provocative history from the Renaissance, when pain transformed into a medical issue, through the racial legacy of pain tolerance, to the opiate epidemics of both the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, to the cutting edge of present-day pain science. The conclusion is clear: only by reckoning with both pain's complicated history and its biology can today's doctors adequately treat their patients' suffering. Trenchant and deeply felt, The Song of Our Scars is an indictment of a broken system and a plea for a more holistic understanding of the human body.
Publication Date: 2022
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi"For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living? At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a naïve medical student "possessed," as he wrote, "by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life" into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. "I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything," he wrote. "Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: 'I can't go on. I'll go on.'" When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.
Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard by Louis-Cyril CelestinGenius and dilettantism often go hand in hand. Nowhere is this truer than in the life of Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard, the bilingual physician and neurologist who succeeded Claude Bernard as the Chair of Experimental Medicine at the College de France in Paris after having practiced in Paris, London and in the USA, especially in Harvard. For most men, making one discovery of global importance would have sufficed to satisfy their curiosity and self-image. Not so Brown-Séquard. His explanation of the neurological disparity following the hemi-section of the spinal cord was a unique achievement that added his name to the syndrome and made him immortal. Yet, the demons of his mind tormented him in his endless search for medical truths and drove him to explore other phenomena, seeking to explain and remedy them. This unique biography shows for the first time the conflict between his professional and personal life, and should appeal to all students of medical history and psychology.
Publication Date: 2013
Imagining the elephant a biography of Allan MacLeod Cormack by Vaughan, Christopher LImagining the Elephant is a biography of Allan MacLeod Cormack, a physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1979 for his pioneering contributions to the development of the computer-assisted tomography (CAT) scanner, an honor he shared with Godfrey Hounsfield. A modest genius who was also a dedicated family man, the book is a celebration of Cormack's life and work. It begins with his ancestral roots in the far north of Scotland, and then chronicles his birth and early years in South Africa, his education at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Cambridge University, and his subs