A generous collection of nonfiction medical stories from distinguished doctors.
Illinois doctor and debut author Kolbaba draws on three years’ worth of interviews with more than 200 physicians to deliver this book of extraordinary anecdotes about patients that doctors “could not explain medically.” The stories are, by turns, emotional, inspirational, and incredible, and they highlight the medical community’s patience, care, and dedication to public health. The book opens with Kolbaba’s own modest, briskly written history, covering his early days as a student who received discouraging advice from the dean of a Chicago medical school, to his thriving, 35-year career as a practicing physician. In this introduction, he notes that “holding the hand of a distressed patient…telling a bad joke to lighten up the often somber mood…or saying a prayer with a spiritual family are the intangibles in medicine that help heal the human spirit.” He also shares a few resonant patient-care stories from his own practice. The first set of other physicians’ tales tell of apparent godly interventions when modern medicine wasn’t enough. These are followed by haunting stories of people who say that they had helpful visions of deceased relatives, near-death experiences, and moments of eerie coincidence. Elsewhere are recollections of seemingly miraculous recoveries and healings. One may read this book in a single sitting, or one may savior the individual stories one by one for quick dashes of inspiration. Many of the tales tap into the need for human empathy that nearly everyone feels when injured or ill. That said, the collection as a whole is often spiritually heavy-handed, which may alienate irreligious readers, and many entries are just a few scant pages long, which will leave some people wanting more details. Still, this uplifting volume does successfully capture “the true essence of the doctor’s experience,” as it promises.
A feel-good book of hope and wonder that will appeal most to readers who believe in divine intervention.