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The Human Kind: A Doctor's Stories From The Heart Of Medicine

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Everyone is a patient sooner or later. Almost everyone has some experience of being misunderstood by doctors; encounters with difficult doctors; of relationships burdened with mutual bafflement, hostility, and pain. Every doctor is haunted by memories of difficult relationships with patients, of the decisions made, and the outcomes that followed. People whom, despite all of Everyone is a patient sooner or later. Almost everyone has some experience of being misunderstood by doctors; encounters with difficult doctors; of relationships burdened with mutual bafflement, hostility, and pain. Every doctor is haunted by memories of difficult relationships with patients, of the decisions made, and the outcomes that followed. People whom, despite all of their patience, persistence, the best communication, diagnostic and reasoning skills, they haven't helped. People for whose unique suffering it seems medicine has nothing to offer. Dr. Peter Dorward explores the many ethical dilemmas that GPs must face every day, to explain why it is that despite vast resources, time, skill and dedication, medicine is so often destined to fail. His recollections include his worst failures and biggest challenges, ranging from the everyday, the tragic, the grotesque, the villainous and the humorous. The Human Kind presents a fresh understanding of the difficult relationship between doctor and patient, and the challenges which both must face.


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Everyone is a patient sooner or later. Almost everyone has some experience of being misunderstood by doctors; encounters with difficult doctors; of relationships burdened with mutual bafflement, hostility, and pain. Every doctor is haunted by memories of difficult relationships with patients, of the decisions made, and the outcomes that followed. People whom, despite all of Everyone is a patient sooner or later. Almost everyone has some experience of being misunderstood by doctors; encounters with difficult doctors; of relationships burdened with mutual bafflement, hostility, and pain. Every doctor is haunted by memories of difficult relationships with patients, of the decisions made, and the outcomes that followed. People whom, despite all of their patience, persistence, the best communication, diagnostic and reasoning skills, they haven't helped. People for whose unique suffering it seems medicine has nothing to offer. Dr. Peter Dorward explores the many ethical dilemmas that GPs must face every day, to explain why it is that despite vast resources, time, skill and dedication, medicine is so often destined to fail. His recollections include his worst failures and biggest challenges, ranging from the everyday, the tragic, the grotesque, the villainous and the humorous. The Human Kind presents a fresh understanding of the difficult relationship between doctor and patient, and the challenges which both must face.

30 review for The Human Kind: A Doctor's Stories From The Heart Of Medicine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X is getting covered in Soufriere ash

    This book was very inward-looking. It was the doctor examining himself as much as his patients. Each story of a patient is given briefly from the medical side. There is more detail about the patient's experience of their illness and its impact on their lives and sometimes their families. He discusses in a way that is very personal and unusual in books of this nature of how the doctor feels about the patient, possibly their family too, and their illness. This can be from a medical, philosophical, This book was very inward-looking. It was the doctor examining himself as much as his patients. Each story of a patient is given briefly from the medical side. There is more detail about the patient's experience of their illness and its impact on their lives and sometimes their families. He discusses in a way that is very personal and unusual in books of this nature of how the doctor feels about the patient, possibly their family too, and their illness. This can be from a medical, philosophical, psychological, ethical or moral aspect, or any combination thereof. It's very interesting. I enjoyed this quiet book very much indeed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kazen

    An empathetic look at what it's like to be a general doctor in the rural UK. I like and appreciate that Dorward is frank about his faults while sharing his successes, and some of the stories will stick with me for a while. He has worked hard to keep his humanity and compassion through what can be difficult circumstances, and that struggle comes through on the page. While the book starts off great the structure goes south later on. Dorward turns to cute literary tricks, meta commentary, and lists An empathetic look at what it's like to be a general doctor in the rural UK. I like and appreciate that Dorward is frank about his faults while sharing his successes, and some of the stories will stick with me for a while. He has worked hard to keep his humanity and compassion through what can be difficult circumstances, and that struggle comes through on the page. While the book starts off great the structure goes south later on. Dorward turns to cute literary tricks, meta commentary, and lists better left to medical students, leaving the last few essays to hang in the wind. I respect his doctoring but as a medical memoir the results are mixed and ho-hum.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janhmmn

    Peter Dorward is a GP in Glasgow who thinks deeper than most about the nature of illness, people, culture and general practice. The book starts with some ethical dilemmas and enigmas that are common to general practice, viewed through the precious lens of continuity of care; I enjoyed the writing but I didn't find anything new, or particularly challenging or earthshattering. Then about a third of the way through he starts to write about functional illness, the perception of pain and our understa Peter Dorward is a GP in Glasgow who thinks deeper than most about the nature of illness, people, culture and general practice. The book starts with some ethical dilemmas and enigmas that are common to general practice, viewed through the precious lens of continuity of care; I enjoyed the writing but I didn't find anything new, or particularly challenging or earthshattering. Then about a third of the way through he starts to write about functional illness, the perception of pain and our understanding of health, mental illness and the medicalisation of unhappiness, and suddenly he is giving words to ideas I have been percolating for a while and helping to crystallise those thoughts into phrases I can use myself. There are some chapters featuring users of illegal drugs which I didn't find as compelling because I am fortunate to not have that as a big part of my regular work. I would recommend this book to any GPs who are wondering just what they are doing. Also anyone interested in the mind, in society, illness behaviour. In short, I think it is an excellent book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ailith Twinning

    This is a beautiful book, and the writing style has made Dorward one of my favourite authors. I don't have the words to do justice here. For me, to read this is to be thrown into the deep end of philanthropy, against my volition. It's a romantic, gentle and tearful sort of thing. It's stories that can say what is so hard to say directly. Please, if you're seeing this, read this book. This is a beautiful book, and the writing style has made Dorward one of my favourite authors. I don't have the words to do justice here. For me, to read this is to be thrown into the deep end of philanthropy, against my volition. It's a romantic, gentle and tearful sort of thing. It's stories that can say what is so hard to say directly. Please, if you're seeing this, read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    I got to read this before it's release date In September. This was an interesting read on a Dr and the various people he treated. From end of life care to mental health and various other patients, it was a fascinating read on how a Dr thinks as well as the patient which we don't always understand so I enjoyed it. I got to read this before it's release date In September. This was an interesting read on a Dr and the various people he treated. From end of life care to mental health and various other patients, it was a fascinating read on how a Dr thinks as well as the patient which we don't always understand so I enjoyed it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I have no idea how I found this book, but I probably read some nice reviews, otherwise I wouldn't have started it. I made an effort to finish it so I can stop seeing it in my "currently reading", as I took a really long break from it. It made me extremely emotional at times and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with trauma or PTSD, it's full of traps. I usually like books written by physicians about their lives and their patience because they have empathy and don't write from a perspective of sup I have no idea how I found this book, but I probably read some nice reviews, otherwise I wouldn't have started it. I made an effort to finish it so I can stop seeing it in my "currently reading", as I took a really long break from it. It made me extremely emotional at times and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with trauma or PTSD, it's full of traps. I usually like books written by physicians about their lives and their patience because they have empathy and don't write from a perspective of superiority (maybe it wasn't written like that, but that's the feeling I got from it). This book needed to be edited for clarity and continuity because it's a roller-coaster and not the nice kind. While trying to get through the last pages, I had a really clear image form in my mind, describing how reading this has made me feel. Imagine a bored child who somehow got access to the pantry. Then imagine this bored child taking random things from the shelves and throwing them on the floor or the pantry out of spite or just to see what happens. Starting from fresh and rotting fruits and vegetables, jars of jam and marmalade, some still good, some filled with mold, glasses of syrup and alcohol, bags of flour and other things. Now imagine having to walk through this huge mess to get to the kid who is not aware of what they have done. This is what it feels like reading this book. The most hurtful part of the book was a chapter towards the end in which pain and depression are discussed. I will not go into detail, you can read for yourself if you're curious. I felt like the author thinks that all of the pain and darkness that comes with depression is just something one can get over with a bit of mental strength. It's easy to judge when you never had to go through it... And it hurt even more when I had to read about the suffering of his mother (view spoiler)[who, by the way, is autistic and I could discern that even from this short description that he gives about her (hide spoiler)] and how superficially he treated her pain, among others. I thought that maybe there would be some people that I would recommend this to, but I can't think of anyone who should go through the pain. It's just not worth it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    Was caught off guard by how much I liked this memoir and how honest, as well as frank, Dorward seemed. Over his career, Dorward dealt with patients from all walks of life, and their cases are memorable in a variety of different ways. I found some of the accounts involving mental health to be very moving at times. This was an ARC from Netgalley and Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. With thanks.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sian Bradshaw

    I did like this book but I failed to empathise with the author in the same way as I did with This Is Going to Hurt. I felt that telling some of the patient stories with so much else interspersed, distracted from the stories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anne Cornford

    Thought provoking challenge to think more deeply as I practise

  10. 5 out of 5

    J

    audible

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nina Mukherjee

    Every story, brilliantly captured

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heiddi Rowley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Wastnedge

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nadin

  19. 5 out of 5

    D Bain

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Suh

  21. 4 out of 5

    Isobel McCormick

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tegan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ella

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chloe Borton

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hoqueariyan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Levy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janique P

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Foreman

  29. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dana

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