Biography – Medical Biographies and Memoirs

Medical Biographies and Memoirs
He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird…
by Mimi Baird with Eve Claxton

Author Mimi Baird lost contact with her father Dr. Perry Baird when she was six, in 1944. She knew only that he was “ill” and wasn’t coming home. Dr. Baird suffered from manic-depression; though he was frequently institutionalized and subjected to primitive treatments for years, he cogently recorded observations of his own illness. In He Wanted the Moon, Mimi weaves together excerpts from her father’s manuscript with her own recollections, providing a fascinating, if sobering, portrait of psychiatric treatment in a time before the symptoms of mental disorders were better understood.

Living and Dying in Brick City: Stories from the Front Lines of an Inner-City E.R.
by Sampson Davis with Lisa Frazier Page

Newark, New Jersey native Sampson Davis rose above the challenges of the inner city (as related in The Pact) and became an Emergency Department physician at Newark Beth Israel Hospital. InLiving and Dying in Brick City, he combines his autobiography with brief accounts of patients he treated and medical information about their conditions. Emphasizing crime and poverty’s health impact on African Americans, he details the effects of gunshot wounds, drug overdoses, sexually transmitted diseases, and lack of access to routine medical exams. Readers who are particularly interested in urban social issues and affordable health care will appreciate this eye-opening look at inner-city medicine.

Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician
by Sandeep Jauhar

In Doctored, Sandeep Jauhar, a cardiologist at Long Island Jewish Hospital in New York, recounts his frustrations as a doctor and his observations on the practice of medicine. In this book, “part memoir and part denunciation of America’s current health-care system” (Library Journal), Jauhar raises issues such as the fear of medical malpractice litigation, insurance bureaucracy, and the economics of for-profit medicine. Illustrating his concerns with anecdotes from his experience, he expresses disappointment in his loss of idealism since he entered medical school. Jauhar’s memoir offers a thought-provoking analysis of the state of health care in the U.S.

Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon
by Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa with Mimi Eichler Rivas

After migrating with his family from Mexico to California for a summer’s work, author Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa decided that his future lay in the U.S. In a risky move, he climbed the fence between Mexico and California to work at low-paying jobs, learn English, and send money back to his family. Eventually, he earned an associate’s degree, then found out that he could go much farther. In this richly detailed memoir, he vividly portrays the poverty of his childhood and the challenges of working his way up the American educational and economic ladder. Booklist, in a starred review, calls Becoming Dr. Q”gripping, inspiring, and just plain awesome.”

My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey
by Jill Bolte Taylor

Jill Bolte Taylor, a Boston neuroanatomist, woke up with a severe headache one morning in 1996. Her physical coordination deteriorated, then her vision began to fail. She managed to telephone her office, where her colleagues realized that she was in deep trouble and sent an ambulance. In My Stroke of Insight, Taylor details her treatment for this life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke, her physical and neurological recovery, and her new awareness of her own brain function. This accessible, compelling memoir offers insight into Taylor’s rehabilitation from a unique point of view — that of a patient who is also an expert in her own medical condition.

List created 7/7/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

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