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Selzer Richard MD; Charon, Rita MD
Academic Medicine: January 1999
Monthly Feature: Humanism and Medicine: PDF Only
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Abstract:In this first article for the feature Humanism and Medicine, Rita Charon introduces an excerpt from Richard Selzer's introducation to his latest book, The Doctor Stories. In her introductory and concluding comments, Charon contemplates the role of stories in medicine and how both truth and healing can be found in both listening to and telling stories. In the excerpt presented, surgeon and writer Selzer muses on his twin crafts. As a writer, Selzer can fully appreciate that which he witnesses in his life as a doctor. His ruminations on his own dual citizenship suggests that all doctors, perhaps, can deepen their commitment to medicine, to their patients, and to themselves by strengthening their capacity to behold their patients and to grasp their predicaments. Selzer also traces his origins and, by implication, projects his future. As practicing physicians and medical educators, readers of Academic Medicine might be inspired to do the same.Acad. Med. 1999;74:42–44.

In this first article for the feature Humanism and Medicine, Rita Charon introduces an excerpt from Richard Selzer's introducation to his latest book, The Doctor Stories. In her introductory and concluding comments, Charon contemplates the role of stories in medicine and how both truth and healing can be found in both listening to and telling stories. In the excerpt presented, surgeon and writer Selzer muses on his twin crafts. As a writer, Selzer can fully appreciate that which he witnesses in his life as a doctor. His ruminations on his own dual citizenship suggests that all doctors, perhaps, can deepen their commitment to medicine, to their patients, and to themselves by strengthening their capacity to behold their patients and to grasp their predicaments. Selzer also traces his origins and, by implication, projects his future. As practicing physicians and medical educators, readers of Academic Medicine might be inspired to do the same.

Acad. Med. 1999;74:42–44.

Associate Editor

Dr. Selzeris a former surgeon and professor at the Yale School of Medicine. The author of collections of stories, essays, and a memoir, Down From Troy, Dr. Selzer has received many awards for his writing, including a Pushcart Prize and a National Magazine Award. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.Dr. Charonis associate professor of clinical medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York.

Address correspondence to Dr. Charon, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 630 West 168th Street, PH 9-East, Room 105, New York, NY 10032; e-mail: <rc5@columbia.edu>.

© 1999 by the Association of American Medical Colleges