Narrative Matters

Narrative Matters : Writing to Change the Health Care System

Foreword by  , Edited by 

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Health care decision making affects patients and families first and foremost, yet their perspectives are not always factored into health policy deliberations and discussions. In this anthology, Jessica Bylander brings together the personal stories of the patients, physicians, caregivers, policy makers, and others whose writings add much-needed human context to health care decision making.

Drawn from the popular "Narrative Matters" column in the leading health policy journal Health Affairs, this collection features essays by some of the leading minds in health care today, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, MacArthur fellow Diane Meier, former Planned Parenthood president Leana S. Wen, and former secretary of health and human services Louis W. Sullivan. The collection also presents important stories from lesser-known voices, including a transgender doctor in Oklahoma who calls for better treatment of trans patients and a palliative care physician who reflects on how perspectives on hastening death have changed in recent years. A foreword written by National Humanities Medal recipient Abraham Verghese, MD, further rounds out the book.

The collection of thirty-two essays is organized around several themes:

* the practice of medicine
* medical innovation and research
* patient-centered care
* the doctor-patient relationship
* disparities and discrimination
* aging and end-of-life care
* maternity and childbirth
* opioids and substance abuse

Contributors: Louise Aronson, Laura Arrowsmith, Cheryl Bettigole, Cindy Brach, Gary Epstein-Lubow, Jonathan Friedlaender, Patricia Gabow, Katti Gray, Yasmin Sokkar Harker, Timothy Hoff, Carla Keirns, Raya Elfadel Kheirbek, Katy B. Kozhimannil, Pooja Lagisetty, Maria Maldonado, Maureen A. Mavrinac, Diane E. Meier, Dina Keller Moss, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Donna Jackson Nakazawa, Travis N. Rieder, Aroonsiri Sangarlangkarn, Elaine Schattner, Janice Lynch Schuster, Myrick C. Shinall, Gayathri Subramanian, Louis W. Sullivan, Gautham K. Suresh, Abraham Verghese, Otis Warren, Leana S. Wen, Charlotte Yeh
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Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22mm | 454g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • second edition
  • No
  • 1421437546
  • 9781421437545

Table of contents

Foreword, by Abraham Verghese, MD
List of Contributors

Chapter 1. The Practice of Medicine
The Importance of Being
Abraham Verghese
Rethinking the Traditional Doctor's Visit
Maureen A. Mavrinac
In the Safety Net: A Tale of Ticking Clocks and Tricky Diagnoses
Maria Maldonado
The Personal Toll of Practicing Medicine
Elaine Schattner

Chapter 2. Medical Innovation and Research
Cancer, Our Genes, and the Anxiety of Risk-Based Medicine
Siddhartha Mukherjee
Beating a Cancer Death Sentence
Jonathan Friedlaender
A Black Alzheimer's Patient Wants to Be Part of the Cure
Katti Gray

Chapter 3. Patient-Centered Care
"Nothing Is Broken": For an Injured Doctor, Quality-Focused Care Misses the Mark
Charlotte Yeh
The Battle of the Bundle: Lessons from My Mother's Partial Hip Replacement
Timothy Hoff
Even in an Emergency, Doctors Must Make Informed Consent an Informed Choice
Cindy Brach

Chapter 4. The Doctor-Patient Relationship
How to Win the Doctor Lottery
Donna Jackson Nakazawa
At the VA, Healing the Doctor-Patient Relationship
Raya Elfadel Kheirbek
When Patients Mentor Doctors: The Story of One Vital Bond
Aroonsiri Sangarlangkarn

Chapter 5. Disparities and Discrimination
"Go Back to California": When Providers Fail Transgender Patients
Laura Arrowsmith
A Simple Case of Chest Pain: Sensitizing Doctors to Patients with Disabilities
Leana S. Wen
Grasping at the Moon: Enhancing Access to Careers in the Health Professions
Louis W. Sullivan
Bridging the Divide between Dental and Medical Care
Gayathri Subramanian
In Rural Towns, Immigrant Doctors Fill a Critical Need
Yasmin Sokkar Harker
An Uninsured Immigrant Delays Needed Care
Cheryl Bettigole

Chapter 6. Aging and End-of-Life Care
"I Don't Want Jenny to Think I'm Abandoning Her": Views on Overtreatment
Diane E. Meier
The Fall: Aligning the Best Care with Standards of Care at the End of Life
Patricia Gabow
Getting It Right at the End of Life
Dina Keller Moss
The Evolving Moral Landscape of Palliative Care
Myrick C. Shinall
Necessary Steps: How Health Care Fails Older Patients, and How It Can Be Done Better
Louise Aronson
A Family Disease: Witnessing Firsthand the Toll that Dementia Takes on Caregivers
Gary Epstein-Lubow

Chapter 7. Maternity and Childbirth
Watching the Clock: A Mother's Hope for a Natural Birth in a Cesarean Culture
Carla Keirns
In the "Gray Zone," a Doctor Faces Tough Decisions on Infant Resuscitation
Gautham K. Suresh
Reversing the Rise in Maternal Mortality
Katy B. Kozhimannil

Chapter 8. Opioids and Substance Abuse
Down the Rabbit Hole: A Chronic Pain Sufferer Navigates the Maze of Opioid Use
Janice Lynch Schuster
In Opioid Withdrawal, with No Help in Sight
Travis N. Rieder
The Fine Line between Doctoring and Dealing
Pooja Lagisetty
Intoxicated, Homeless, and in Need of a Place to Land
Otis Warren

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Review quote

"To begin to understand the many challenges facing the US health care system, you could spend years in the shadow of doctors, patients, medical students, and legislators. Or you could just read this book. Narrative Matters opens a window into what's happening in American medicine through the minds and pens of those in the middle of it all. At times insightful, depressing, uplifting, and direct, Narrative Matters accomplishes a rare feat--a book as well-written as it is necessary."

--Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, author of The Public Health Crisis Survival Guide: Leadership and Management in Trying Times
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About Abraham Verghese

Jessica Bylander is a senior editor at Health Affairs and the editor of "Narrative Matters."
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