Featured Books

Recommended Reading from the BCH Library Collection

being mortalBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
In his newest book, bestselling author Atul Gawande explores how medicine, centrally focused on improving life, can improve the process of its ending. Many innovations and advances in medicine have served to extend life, but too often are simply extending suffering. Gawande argues that improved quality of life is what patients and families really want. He offers examples of more fulfilling models of end-of-life care and explores the variety of hospice care that has been developed, showing how our healthcare system can foster not only a good life, but a good end.

doctor crisisThe Doctor Crisis: How Physicians Can, and Must, Lead the Way to Better Health Care by Jack Cochran M.D. and Charles C. Kenney
In The Doctor Crisis, Dr. Jack Cochran, executive director of The Permanente Federation, and author Charles Kenney address a healthcare system in which being a physician is more difficult and less rewarding than ever. The flawed U.S. healthcare system discourages and prevents doctors from always putting patients first, while they navigate regulation, bureaucracy, liability, and reduced reimbursements. Despite these struggles, the authors show how doctors can work to repair the system by being leaders as well as excellent clinicians in order to put the focus of American healthcare back on the patient.

cost of cuttingThe Cost of Cutting: A Surgeon Reveals the Truth Behind a Multibillion-Dollar Industry by Paul A. Ruggieri M.D.
Surgeon Paul A. Ruggieri looks at the hidden costs and hidden flaws of our healthcare system, answering the question of why surgery is so expensive. Ruggieri shows how business arrangements among hospitals, insurance companies, and surgeons affect treatment decisions and care. He also explains how to protect one’s own health (and wallet) and suggests how the United States can reduce the cost of surgery without reducing the quality of care.

conflicted health careConflicted Health Care: Professionalism and Caring in an Urban Hospital by Ester Carolina Apesoa-Varano and Charles S. Varano
Based on thousands of hours of participant-observation, as well as focused interviews, this hospital ethnography looks at the daily professional lives of physicians, nurses, social workers, and many other health care professionals. While all these groups champion caring ideals, the authors show the complex situations that arise in patient care and interoccupational relations as these clinicians struggle through long hours on the hospital floor.

doctoredDoctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician by Sandeep Jauhar
Doctored is the story of the broken American health care system, told through the eyes of an attending cardiologist. Dr. Sandeep Jauhar expected medicine to be a stable and secure career (as his non-physician father often advised him it would be) in which he would be able to form meaningful relationships with patients, delivering the best possible care. However, after finding that his hospital salary isn’t enough for his family to get by on, he attempts to supplement his income in other ways, delivering talks for a pharmaceutical company, and later moonlighting in private practice. He recounts how blatant cronyism determines patient referrals and unnecessary tests are routinely performed in order to general revenue. And yet the specialization of the medical profession means that a patient often sees numerous doctors without getting a full picture of their condition. Jauhar is also the author of the acclaimed memoir Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation, which can be checked out from the library’s collection.

vital conversationsVital Conversations: Improving Communication Between Doctors and Patients by Dennis Rosen
Dr. Dennis Rosen is a Boston Children’s Hospital pediatric pulmonologist and sleep specialist. In Vital Conversations, Rosen has used his personal experiences living and practicing medicine in different countries as well as research from biomedicine, sociology, and anthropology to inform his recommendations for improving doctor-patient communication, which in turn serves to improve healthcare outcomes and decrease costs. Rosen is also the author of Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids, which is available for check out on the library’s Nook and Kindle e-readers.

fivedayatmememorialFive Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Sheri Fink
Sheri Fink, both a physician and reporter, is a passionate writer who draws readers into the lives of those who struggled at Memorial Medical Center after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Winner of the Pultizer Prize in 2009 for her New York Times magazine article, The Deadly Choices at Memorial, Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center after Katrina destroyed its generators. She reveals how caregivers were forced to make life-and-death decisions without essential resources, an experience that raised key issues about practitioner responsibilities and end-of-life care.  Ms. Fink was interviewed on Sept. 20th by the New York Times about her experience writing the book and her thoughts on some of the ethical issues.


A History of the Present Illness: Stories, by Louise Aronson
Louise Aronson’s collection of short stories gives the the reader a glimpse into the lives of medical students, patients, families, doctors and nurses and reveals an intimate view of the personal struggles of individuals on the giving and receiving end of the modern medical system. Although her stories are works of fiction, Aronson draws from her personal experience as a physician working in San Francisco, where her book takes place.   Each of Aronson’s sixteen stories is told from a distinct point of view, from an eight-year old Cambodian immigrant to a retired  family doctor, but all of the narratives are compelling without being sentimental or sugar-coated. A History of the Present Illness is available for checkout at the hospital library.

againsttheirwillAgainst Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America, by Allen M. Hornblum, Judith L. Newman, and Gregory J. Dober chronicles the use of institutionalized children for medical experimentation in the mid-twentieth century.  According to Hornblum, Newman and Dober, the Cold War was a particularly terrible time for experimentation on children because of the push for scientific, technological and medical advances that prompted doctors and researchers to seek out large samples of human “volunteers” for their pharmaceutical, radiological, psychological and reproductive experiments.  This disturbing period in American medical history irrevocably harmed and claimed the lives of vulnerable children even as the Nazi doctors stood on trial in Nuremberg, Germany for their experiments.    The authors, who spent years researching the history of experimentation on children during this era, also touch on more recent cases of research misconduct and point to the possible misuse of overseas research for pharmaceutical trials in order to avoid the rigorous restrictions placed on experiments involving human research subjects in the United States.  Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America is available for checkout at the hospital library.

fire-in-the-ashesIn Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among The Poorest Children in America, Jonathan Kozol tells the stories of children whom he met in the 1980s in a Manhattan homeless shelter called the Martinique.  Kozol visited the Martinique throughout the eighties and witnessed the extreme the poverty, exposure to environmental hazards, physical and sexual abuse by the building’s management, unchecked drug use and dealing, and outbreaks of communicable diseases such as HIV, that residents faced on a daily basis.  For the past twenty-five years Kozol has kept in contact with many of the families he befriended in the shelter and each chapter in Fire in the Ashes focuses on the children from these families.  All of the children featured in Kozol’s book struggled against unimaginable odds as they grew up – some of them were able to rise above their difficult childhoods while others became victims of their circumstances.  The tragedy and hope that weaves through these children’s stories make this book a compelling read for those working with poor children and their families and anyone interested in social justice.

Children’s own Dennis Rosen, MD, has a new book out! The Harvard Medical School Guide to Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids offers parents practical advice for helping children fall asleep, stay asleep, and get the quality rest needed to stay healthy, be happy and learn. Dr. Rosen is a specialist in pulmonary and sleep medicine, serves as the Associate Medical Director of Children’s Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders and is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.Successful Sleep Strategies for Kids is available exclusively in electronic format for your NookKindle or Apple device. The library has downloaded the book onto our Nook and Kindle, which are available for loan.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard is a well-researched, readable book about the psychology of change from Chip Heath & Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick.  According to the Heath brothers, making changes is difficult for humans because our minds are divided into two parts that often have a hard time working together: the “Planner” and the “Doer.”  The Heath brothers conclude that lack of clarity, exhaustion of self-control and situational factors act as a barrier between our intentions and actions.  Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard uses short, real-life examples of how individuals, businesses, and healthcare institutions, found ways around these barriers in order to implement positive change.  Both Switch and Made to Stick are available for checkout from the library.

In his new book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, Tony Wagner goes in search of the building blocks that are necessary for forming the next generation of leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and entrepreneurship fields. Wagner interviews young innovators in these areas and looks at parenting, education and business models that successfully encourage creativity in order to piece together common elements for success. Creating Innovators offers examples of how educators, parents and employers can encourage young people to reach their creative potential—and provide a new hope for our nation’s economic future. This book also includes a number of QR codes in each chapter that take the reader to original supplemental videos and links that are included to provide a more in depth exploration of the Wagner’s content.

Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine, by Lisa Wong, MD with Robert Viagas
Scales to Scalpels tells the story of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, a music group made up of Boston health-care professionals, and explores the connection between practicing medicine and creating music.  Not only does the LSO provide a creative outlet for the hard-working medical professionals of the Longwood Area, Dr. Wong describes how playing music helps practitioners to have a greater understanding of the art of medicine and also allows them to contribute to the healing process by exposing others to the healing properties of music, which the group achieves through offering free concerts and community outreach.  Dr. Wong, who is a practicing pediatrician and the president of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, also reports on the physiological and psychological benefits that come from creating and listening to music.

Among its many community outreach programs, LSO runs the Healing Art of Music program , which raises money for charity.  The Healing Arts Music program just celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala event that also marked the end of the symphony’s 28th season and honored Dr. Wong.  Interested in joining the LSO? Email auditions@longwoodsymphony.org to enquire about auditioning.

Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU, by Adam Wolfberg, MD, MPH
In Fragile Beginnings: Discoveries and Triumphs in the Newborn ICU, Adam Wolfberg, MD, MPH, a high-risk obstetrics specialist at Tufts Medical Center, takes the reader into the NICU to witness the daunting task of caring for premature infants. Dr. Wolfberg’s experiences with the NICU go beyond his professional duties; his daughter was born at six-months and weighed less than two pounds at birth. Fragile Beginnings explores the recent history of neonatal breakthroughs, explains the the clinical and ethical aspects of taking care of premature babies and reveals the very personal struggle of a parent of one of these tiny patients.

Jason Warshof, whose own son was born 12 weeks early and spent two months in the Tufts Medical Center NICU, wrote a review of Wolfberg’s book for the Boston Globe in February.

Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking That Block Women’s Path to Power, by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath & Mary Davis Holt
In the first chapter of Break Your Own Rules, Flynn, Heath, and Holt (who was the speaker for April 2012’s Management Grand Rounds) identify the problem of inequality in the world of leadership in the United States: that in spite of the advances to women in business, only 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women and women still only make 79 percent of men’s wages—and yet, women-lead organizations “outperform their competitors on key financial measure (3).”  The authors of Break Your Own Rules, who make up Flynn Heath Holt Leadership (FHHL), a consulting firm dedicated to the advancement of women in leadership, wrote the book to encourage women to identify and change the often self-imposed rules that are keeping women from achieving their leadership goals.   The book’s content includes three major themes: stories of women who have succeeded in leadership roles, “old-school” rules for women in business and how they keep women from achieving their goals and new rules for women to follow to advance their careers.

Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform is Paul Starr’s 2011 book about the current, tumultuous state of health care insurance in the United States. Starr, a professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University and a senior health policy adviser during the Clinton administration, won a Pulitzer Prize for his previous book about health care, The Social Transformation of American Medicine. In Remedy and Reaction, Starr follows the development of government-sponsored health insurance in the United States starting in 1915, describes the conflict between liberals and conservatives over health insurance and the explores the current debates over health care reform, including President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. The historical context for the ongoing conflict over health insurance found in Remedy and Reaction is particularly relevant as the nation prepares for this year’s presidential election. This book is available for checkout at the Hospital Library.

Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around,by Roberta Chinsky Matuson
In Suddenly In Charge, Roberta Chinsky Matuson instructs the reader on how to manage individuals above (“managing up”) and below (“managing down”) them in an organization. The author tackles these two management strategies in separate sections that are uniquely arranged back to back: flip the book to one side to read about managing up and flip to the other side to read about managing down.  This arrangement works nicely to illustrate how managing as an employee and as a boss are interrelated and gives a glimpse into how both sides of the organization operate.

Matuson offers practical advice about hiring, terminating, conflict caused by generation gaps, office politics, asking for a raise, deciding when to leave an organization and about how to effectively work with one’s boss or employees.  Suddenly in Charge is available for checkout at the library.

Briging Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting,by Pamela Druckerman
Last year the nation was in an uproar over Tiger Mothers.  This year French parents are the ones to beat according to Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. In the book  Druckerman, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, documents her experience of giving birth to and raising her children in France.  According to Druckerman, the French parenting philosophy involves encouraging autonomy in their children while insisting on good behavior.  French children are expected to adjust to their parent’s lives, rather than the other way around—bed times are non-negotiable from a very early age, children are not given “kids choices” when it comes to meals and French parents are less likely hover over their children’s every move than their American counterparts.  The result? Druckerman observed that French children are better behaved, more polite and have a greater sense of independence than American children.

Bringing up Bebe has attracted a great deal of attention since its January release.  The Huffington Post review finds merit in the idea that French children are taught greater self-control at an earlier age and the NPR review called the book “marvelous.”  On the flip-side, many reviews, such as the one in the Telegraph, are dubious of the claims of French superiority when it comes to parenting and the New York Times review slams the book for making generalizations (good and bad) about both cultures.  Want to see what the all of praise and controversy is about? Bringing up Bebe is available for checkout at the library.

Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, edited by Faith S. Holsaert, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Judy Richardson, Betty Garman Robinson, Jean Smith Young and Dorothy M. Zellner
Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC is a collection of stories from fifty-two women, both black and white, who were members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the Civil Rights Movement. These remarkable women faced threats, violence, harassment, imprisonment, and estrangement from friends and family as they defied traditional social conventions of the time to actively take part in rallies, marches, boycotts, and sit-ins. The editors of the book are former SNCC staff members who saw the need to record the experiences of former members who fought for freedom during the Movement. Although each narrative follows the personal journey of a woman through her experiences in SNCC, these accounts “tell one central story: that of the growth and development of a moment for freedom and equality.”

The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, by Eric Topol, MD
Eric Topol, MD, author of The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, defines creative destruction as “transformation that accompanies radical innovation.” Dr. Topol, who is a cardiologist, professor of genomics, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and co-founder and vice-chairman of the West Wireless Health Institute, states that DNA sequencing, wireless sensors, scanning devices and health information innovations are likely to alter modern medicine as dramatically as advances in digital technology have changed the way we live our lives. One of the ideas explored in this book is the concept that these technological developments have the potential to help doctors create a digital model of a person by determining the individual’s genome, remotely monitor vitals and create three-dimensional images of the body. Dr. Topol also argues that although technology is constantly changing how doctors practice medicine, consumer demand, particularly from “digital natives,” will determine how and when this “creative destruction” of medicine will take place. This book is available for checkout at the hospital library.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson
In observance of Black History Month, the Children’s Hospital Boston Book Groups are reading Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Wilkerson, who is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, conducted extensive research and interviewed more than 1,200 individuals in writing The Warmth of Other Suns. The result is a richly detailed account of the movement of African Americans from the south to the north that started during the First World War and lasted until the 1970s. The narrative of Wilkerson’s book focuses on three of the African Americans who participated in this “great migration”: Ida Mae Brandon Gladney from Chickasaw County, Mississippi; Robert Joseph Pershing Foster from Monroe, Louisiana and George Swanton Starling from Wildwood, Florida. Wilkerson recounts how all three individuals left their homes and families for northern cities in order to escape the oppression and atrocities that made life unbearable in their home states. The Warmth of Other Suns is a thoroughly researched and engrossing look at how the migration from south to north impacted the lives of its participants and changed the American cultural landscape.

Smart Medicine: How the Changing Role of Doctors will Revolutionize Health Care, by William Hanson, MD
In his latest book, Smart Medicine: How the Changing Role of Doctors Will Revolutionize Health Care, Dr. William Hanson chronicles how rapid technological advances are changing the way doctors and hospitals treat patients. Dr. Hanson, the Chief Medical Information Officer at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, outlines historical technological innovations in medical care and describes how new technologies, such as smart phones, tablets and advanced medical devices are beginning to shape patient care. While technical advances are allowing doctors and hospitals to provide a new level of care, Hanson also warns that new tests and treatments afforded by these advances are no substitute for human expertise and compassion.

Historical narratives and stories from the author’s personal experiences as a physician make Smart Medicine a fascinating read. Check out Dennis Rosen’s, MD review of Smart Medicine: How the Changing Role of Doctors Will Revolutionize Health Care, which ran in the Boston Globe.

medicalmindIn Your Medical Mind: How to decide what is right for you, Jerome Groopman, MD and Pamela Hartzband, MD look at the complex choices and beliefs that influence our medical decisions. We are overwhelmed by information: doctors’ recommendations, expert opinions, confusing statistics, conflicting medical reports, the advice of  friends, claims on the Internet, and ads from drug companies. Your Medical Mindshows us how to chart a clear path through this sea of information.

The authors  interviewed scores of patients, drew on research from doctors, psychologists, economists, and other experts to help explain the many factors that aid or impede our thinking. Your Medical Mind offers essential tools for making our own best medical decisions, cutting through the confusion caused by the health care system, and even gaps in our own reasoning.

You can learn more about the book and its authors at yourmedicalmind.com.

Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon, by Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, MD
Working until midnight, living on frozen dinners (that may or may not be causing headaches), and taking calls from the boss at 6:00 a.m. are all in a day’s work for researchers in neurosurgeon Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa’s lab at Johns Hopkins. “The 25/7 Lab,” in the Sept. 1st issue of Nature takes a close look at this lab and asks if such grueling hours make for better science. Access to the article requires a Harvard ID. If you do not have a Harvard password, please email the librarian. You can also visit the library and borrow a copy of the book, Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon.

Some would argue, yes, long hours are crucial to success. As the article points out, Quinones-Hinojosa’s group has published 113 articles in the last six years and holds 13 funding grants. One researcher mentions that few people go into science expecting to work an eight-hour day. And Quinones-Hinojosa believes that volume matters: the more grants you submit, the more you win, and the more you can learn from mistakes. Certainly, long hours are not exclusive to Quinones-Hinojosa’s lab; the article cites a biochemist who has supervised over 100 postdocs and students and who believes that the most successful were those who put in the hours.

Others believe just as strongly that more hours don’t necessarily deliver more results. Some research shows that creative scientists have more varied interests and hobbies than their less-creative colleagues. One chemist at MIT encourages researchers in his lab to take a month off every year. And Julie Overbaugh, who runs a successful lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, makes a compelling case for creativity and balance in “A healthy work-life balance can enhance research,” in the same issue of Nature. She’s had some of her best ideas while walking the dog and believes that fresh ideas can come from taking time to discuss myriad scientific issues. Given the pace of new technologies, she writes that “time to think deeply about scientific problems is becoming increasingly rare.” Evidence of the success of her approach is NIH MERIT awards as well as faculty postings at top research institution for members of lab.

Is one method more successful than another? Are long hours a substitute for time to think and discuss? Or is it a matter of personality? And success comes from working the way that works for you?

In Quality Health Care: A Guide to Developing and Using Indicators, quality measurement expert Robert Lloyd, PhD, offers practical advice to help organizations build quality management programs. Lloyd, Executive Director, Performance Improvement at the Institute for Health Care Improvement, delivers step-by-step advice to help you identify the right indicators for quality measurement. He discusses both operational and clinical environments, using case studies to illustrate how quality measurement principles can be put to use in real-world situations.

Lloyd covers steps such as how to listen to your customers to understand their needs and expectations through tools designed to capture data about the complete customer experience. You’ll also learn how to select and develop specific indicators and execute data collection strategies, how to organize indicators into a dashboard, how to use statistical tools to interpret your data, and how to determine which tools to use when.

If you would like to learn more about Robert Lloyd, you can read his bio.

An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine, by Howard Markel, MD, PhD
Noted medical historian Howard Markel tells the compelling story of the years-long cocaine use of Sigmund Freud and William Halsted. Markel details the extraordinary life and work of each man and how they came to know about cocaine, which was then considered a wonder drug. Freud, for example, began experimenting with cocaine as a way to study its therapeutic value. Halsted was interested in the drug’s effectiveness as an anesthetic. Markel writes of the damage caused by cocaine and how each man changed the world – one becoming the father of psychoanalysis and the other of modern surgery. The full heroic and tragic story of each man is presented in deep historical context.

You can read a review from the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Markel’s website hosts excerpts from the book and a Q&A section in which Markel discusses what got him interested in addiction.

If you are interested in even more about William Halsted, you can take a look at Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted, by Gerald Imber, MD. It is also available in the library.

Written by Douglas Conant, recently retired President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company, and Mette Norgaard, strategic leadership and learning expert, TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments outlines successful leadership strategies for leaders of all levels. According to Conant and Norgaard, the three steps of leadership are “first, to listen closely to understand an issue; second, having gained that understanding, to help frame the actual situation; and third, to advance the conversation in order to advance the issue” (xxi). Communication is the cornerstone of Conant and Norgaard’s leadership philosophy. While other leaders dread the daily interruptions that slow down their “real work,” these experts embrace the idea of using those “interruptions” to make powerful connections that actually lead to new opportunities and growth.

Doug Conant’s website features titles for further reading about effective leadership strategies including Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Collins’ Good to Great, Loehr & Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement, and Pink’s Drive, all of which are available for checkout at the hospital library.

Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted, by Gerald Imber, MD
Genius on the Edge depicts the life of Dr. Halsted, one of the pioneers of modern surgery. Halsted was successful in revolutionizing the way surgery was practiced in the Untied States at the turn of the last century.  Unfortunately his dedication to experimenting with surgical techniques also lead the talented doctor to become addicted to cocaine, which was regularly used as an anesthetic in the late 19th century, and later to morphine. Dr. Imber’s biography explores Halsted’s successful career but also the devastation that drug addition and lifestyle brought to his personal life. Genius on the Edge: The Bizarre Double Life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted is available for checkout at the hospital library.

The Boy in the Moon: A Father’s Journey to Understand his Extraordinary Son, by Ian Brown
The Boy in the Moon, by Ian Brown, tells the story of Brown’s son, Walker.  Walker was born with an extremely rare and debilitating genetic disorder called cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome (CFC), a syndrome that has only been reported in just over one-hundred people since its discovery in 1979.  Brown’s memoir follows his and his wife’s struggle to care for a severely disabled child while searching for answers to their questions about their son’s exceptionally uncommon syndrome by reaching out to researchers, physicians, and other families of children with CFC from around the world.  This powerful and honest reflection of what it means to care for and love a profoundly disabled child is available for checkout at the hospital library.

Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So, by Mark Vonnegut, MD
In his memoir, Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So, author and pediatrician Mark Vonnegut, writes about his long-term struggle with mental illness.  Vonnegut describes growing up on Cape Codwith his eccentric parents (Mark is the son of the late writer Kurt Vonnegut) and how his life suddenly changed with the onset of bipolar disorder in his early twenties.  In spite of suffering debilitating psychotic episodes, Vonnegut was able to attend Harvard Medical School, complete an internship and residency at MGH, and become a pediatrician.  This fascinating story of Vonnegut’s success in medicine in spite of his battles with mental illness is available for checkout at the hospital library.

The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear, by Seth Mnookin
Seth Mnookin tackles the controversy over childhood vaccinations in his book, The Panic Virus:  A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear.  According to Mnookin, the basis of the debate over childhood vaccinations boils down to the divide between making decisions based on scientific evidence or based on instincts and “feelings.”  The first part of The Panic Virus explains the history behind the public’s distrust of vaccines, such as those for small pox, polio and diphtheria-pertusis-tetanus.  The second part of the Mnookin’s book deals with the specific controversy over the MMR vaccine and why many people still believe that the shot causes autism, in spite of the fact that Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 article that linked autism to the MMR vaccine has since been uncovered as fraudulent.  The author also features research and stories about the deadly consequences of vaccination avoidance.  This book is available for checkout at the hospital library.

Between Expectations: Lessons from a Pediatric Residency, by Meghan MacLean Weir, MD
In Between Expectations: Lessons from a Pediatric Residency, Dr. Meghan MacLean Weir, who currently works in the Children’s Hospital Emergency department, details her combined pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital’s and Boston Medical Center.  Between Expectations details the struggles, small triumphs, heartbreak, sleepless nights, and difficult cases that mark the three years Weir spent as a resident.    Weir describes, with great honesty and compassion, the patients and families who forever shaped her understanding of pediatric care.  This book, written by one of Children’s own, is available for checkout at the hospital library.

Notes on Nightingale: The Influence and Legacy of a Nursing Icon, edited by Sioban Nelson and Anne Marie Rafferty. 
Editors Nelson and Rafferty bring together the works from eight contemporary Nightingale scholars in this book about the lasting and global influence of the founder of professional nursing, innovator of sanitation in health care and author of Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not.  The essays in the book describe Nightingale as a health care and women’s rights reformer, explore Nightingale’s work in the context of Victorian politics and society,  tackle myths surrounding Nightingale’s life and work, and discuss Nightingale’s influence on the future of nursing. A review of Notes on Nightingale: The Influence and Legacy of a Nursing Icon appeared in the December 22/29 2010 issue of JAMA.

Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care, by Augustus A. White, III, MD
Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care, by Augustus A. White, III, MD is an examination of the underlying discrimination against minorities, particularly African Americans, still exists in health care in the United States.  Dr. White explores the topic of race in health care through his experiences growing up in the segregated south, studying medicine at Stanford in the late 1950’s, serving as a surgeon in the army during the Vietnam War, completing a fellowship in Sweden, and becoming the first African American department chief at a Harvard teaching hospital as surgeon-in-chief for the orthopedics department at Beth Israel Medical Center.  Each stage of Dr. White’s life provided him with new insight into health care disparities, not only based on race, but also on gender, age and sexual orientation.  In the last chapter of his book, Dr. White talks about the importance of cultural competency in understanding existing biases and working towards improved communication and understanding between doctors and patients.  Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care is available for checkout at the library.

Medicine in Translation: Journeys with My Patients, by Danielle Ofri
In Medicine in Translation: Journeys with My Patients, Dr. Danielle Ofri shares her experiences in treating a diverse group of immigrants at the Bellevue Hospital in New York City.  Dr. Ofri presents her book in three parts.  In the first part of her book Ofri shares her struggles and triumphs in working with patients, many of whom are recent immigrants to the United States.  As Ofri builds relationships with her patients, it becomes clear to her that in order to better serve her patient population she needs to improve her mastery of the Spanish language.  The second part of Ofri’s book describes the year she spent in Costa Rica taking Spanish lessons, introducing her young children to a new culture, and even experiencing being a patient in a foreign country. The third part of Ofri’s book focuses on how her experiences in Costa Rica changed her perspectives upon resuming her duties at Bellevue.  This compelling exploration of medicine, culture and compassion is available for checkout at the hospital library.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
In 1951 Henrietta Lacks, a poor, 31 year-old African American woman, was diagnosed with cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital. During one of her cancer treatments Dr. Lawrence Wharton, Jr. took a biopsy of Henrietta’s tumor without her knowledge. Unlike previous human cell samples, Henrietta’s cells reproduced indefinitely and became the first immortal human cells. These cells proved to be invaluable for researchers and lead to the development of countless medical innovations and vaccines, yet her family only became aware of Henrietta’s role in these medical breakthrough decades after her death. In spite of the therapeutic and financial gains brought about by Henrietta’s unknowing “donation,” her children still struggle to afford the same medicines and healthcare made possible by their mother.

lostartThe Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine, by Bernard Lown, MD
In the preface to The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine, author Bernard Lown, MD proclaims that “medicine has lost its way, if not its soul.  An unwritten covenant between doctor and patient…has been broken.” The focus of medicine, according to Dr. Lown, should involve healing the whole person, rather than treating individual symptoms.  The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine includes clinical stories of patients who benefited from care that went beyond the usual tests and medications commonly ordered by physicians.  In addition to his work as a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Lown Cardiovascular Center in Brookline, Dr. Lown is a professor emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health and is the chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee to Defend Health Care.  The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine is available for checkout at the library.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer is currently on the New York Times’ Bestseller List, was featured as an Amazon’s Best Book of the Month, and was recommended by Children’s Hospital’s Vector Blog.   Author Siddhartha Mukherjee, an oncologist who trained at MGH and Dana Farber, presents this narrative of cancer through the history of the disease, the individuals who have devoted their lives to eradicating cancer, and through the stories of patients he treated in his training and work as an oncologist.  Mukherjee describes his book as a “military history—one in which the adversary is formless, timeless and pervasive.”  The Emperor of All Maladies was reviewed in the Boston Globe, New York Times and the Wastington Post  This book is available for checkout at the library.

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health: Report Recommendations, by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Institute of Medicine
This text is a culmination of the two year initiative by the Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing and outlines four key messages:

(1) Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training. (2) Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. (3) Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States. (4) Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure (RWJF & IOM 2010).

You can also view this report online for free at The Institute of Medicine Website.

Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing Your Personal Health Through the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healingby Herbert Benson, MD & William Proctor, JD
Co-authors Herbert Benson, MD and William Proctor, JD, present evidence that relaxation has the power to alter our physiology, molecules and even gene activity in Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing Your Personal Health Through the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing. Benson and Proctor’s book includes anecdotes about patients who have benefited from mind body healing, recent and historical studies on relaxation, and tips on how to design a personal treatment plan. The book also features a manual of mind body treatments for specific symptoms and diseases. Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing Your Personal Health Through the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing is available for checkout at the CHB Library.

3 Steps to Yes: The Gentle Art of Getting Your Way, by Gene Bedell
The most recent Leadership Book Club session discussed Gene Bedell’s book, 3 Steps to 3 Steps to Yes: The Gentle Art of Getting Your Way, which is now available for checkout at the CHB Library. Bedell describes this book a guide for “ordinary people who need to move others from not or maybe to yes, but who don’t want to spend their lives learning and perfecting sales and negotiation strategies.” The three steps outlined in 3 Steps to 3 Steps to Yes: The Gentle Art of Getting Your Way are meant to allow the reader to persuade colleagues, children, employees and coworkers gently but effectively. Bedell also includes examples and helpful hints in order to illustrate how to use his steps in real-life situations.

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children, by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
In NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children, New York Times journalists Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman tackle parents’ perceptions about praising children, teaching about racial issues, lying, sleep deprivation, academic testing, siblings rivalry, rebellion, self-control, conflict resolution, bullies and Baby Einstein DVDs. Bronson and Merryman argue that parents’ instincts in dealing with these issues are often at odds with what researchers are discovering about child development. In the introduction to their book the authors describe parental “instincts” as being “polluted by a hodgepodge of wishful thinking, moralistic biases, contagious fads, personal history, and old (disproven) psychology – all at the expense of common sense.” This fascinating read is available for checkout at the BCH Library.

Real Collaboration: What it Takes for Global Health to Succeed, by Mark L. Rosenberg, Elisabeth S. Hayes, Margaret H. McIntyre and Nancy Neill
Real Collaboration: What it Takes for Global Health to Succeed (2010) examines the role of partnerships in fighting global health threats. Co-authors Mark L. Rosenberg, Elisabeth S. Hayes, Margaret H. McIntyre and Nancy Neill make their case for collaboration in world health care, lay out the challenges involved in such collaborations, analyze previous world health partnerships, and provide toolkits for building world health partnerships. Dennis Rosen, MD, of the Division of Respiratory Diseases reviewed Real Collaboration in JAMA, Vol. 304(8), p. 910. Click here to read his review.

After the Diagnosis: Transcending Chronic Illness, by Julian Seifter and Betsy Seifter
After the Diagnosis: Transcending Chronic Illness by Julian Seifter and Betsy Seifter is an exploration of what it means to live with chronic illness from the point of view of an individual who is both a physician and a patient. In After the Diagnosis: Transcending Chronic Illness, Dr. Seifter recounts the stories of patients who show strength in the face of illness and provides strategies for coping with extended illnesses. Drawing from his experiences as a clinician and a patient Seifter concludes that illness has the power to transform a person’s life in surprising ways–“chronic illness doesn’t necessarily diminish life; it can actually enrich life by inviting us to access parts of ourselves that might otherwise lie hidden.”

Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine, by Saki Santorelli
Check out Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine, by Saki Santorelli, who was the featured speaker for November 2010’s Grand Rounds session. This text focuses on the role of mindfulness and meditation in modern medicine and includes exercises for practicing mindfulness in everyday life. Santorelli is the director of the internationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center; executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society; and associated professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

melMel: A Biography of Dr. Mary Ellen Avery
, by Bojan Hamlin Jennings

Celebrate Women in Medicine Month by reading about one of Children’s own distinguished physicians in Mel: A Biography of Dr. Mary Ellen Avery. Mary Ellen Avery is known for her innovations in the treatment of Respiratory Distress Syndrome, her contributions to the field of neonatology and her advocacy for children around the world. Dr. Avery served as the first woman physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital from 1974 to 1985. Bojan Hamlin Jennings, the author of this 2010 biography, is a professor emerita of chemistry at Wheaton College, where she taught Mary Ellen Avery in the mid 1940s. This book is part of the Children’s Hospital Library’s Women in Medicine display and is available for checkout.

Making Health Care Whole, by Christina M. Puchalski, MD and Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD
In Making Health Care Whole (2010), Christina M. Puchalski, MD and Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD explore the spiritual aspects of palliative care. This book both illustrates the disconnect between the technical focus of modern medicine and the spiritual nature of caring for others and provides solutions for integrating these two essential facets of health care. Making Health Care Whole is the product of a “consensus conference and associated project activities built on nationally peer-reviewed guidelines that were developed by the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care” (Puchalski & Ferrell 2010, xxi). Puchalski and Ferrell’s book defines spirituality, provides historical context of spirituality in palliative care, and introduces the recommendations for implementing the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care guidelines and practices. Making Health Care Whole is available for checkout at the Children’s Hospital Boston Library in the “New Acquisitions” section.

Teaching in the Hospital, edited by Jeff Wiese
Teaching in the Hospital (2010), edited Jeff Weise, is a practical guide for attending physicians in their responsibilities as educators, role models, collaborators and leaders within the hospital setting. Contributors to Teaching in the Hospital include attending physicians from Tufts Medical Center, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Emory University School of Medicine, University of Colorado Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Weise’s book is a part of the American College of Physicians Teaching Medicine Series, which also features texts on theory, methods, mentoring and leadership in medical education. Teaching in the Hospital provides guidance on the unique and complex challenges facing attending physicians and helpful insight on teaching essential clinical and non-clinical skills. Weise’s text also includes several clinical teaching scripts, which demonstrate common problems encountered in the hospital environment. This book is available for checkout at the Boston Children’s Hospital Library.

We’ve Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Medication Age, by Judith Warner
In 2004, Judith Warner set out to write a book exposing the “epidemic” of overmedication of children for mental disorders, such as ADHD and depression. As Warner started speaking with parents, physicians, and extensively researching pediatric mental healthcare, however, she began to question her previous assumptions about the treatment of mental illness in children. We’ve Got Issues (2010) is the result of Warner’s exploration her own assumptions and society’s deeply rooted stigmas about mental illness in children. Warner documents the wrenching struggles parents face in deciding whether to medicate their children as well as the roles of society, biology history in the manifestation, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues in children. Although Warner does not shy away from the problems with the current state of children’s mental healthcare in the United States, she argues against her original, negative attitude towards the parents and doctors who care for children with mental illnesses.


2 Responses to Featured Books

  1. Roshan Raza says:

    I am more than half way through my read of “The lost Art of Healing” and I must say that it is an excellent book embracing healing as the designated quality deemed necessary for a doctor.It has been presented in a story telling fashion deducing a moral, inspired by personal experiences of one of the big names in the field of clinical medicine.

    I plan to read “A Biography of Dr. Mary Ellen Avery by Bojan Hamlin Jennings
    ” after finishing it.

    I’m loving it!

  2. Pingback: Two Exciting Author Events: Brookline Booksmith hosting Jodi Picoult and Pamela Druckerman (Bringing Up Bebe) « Children's Hospital Boston Library News

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