Medical Essays

Essays about medical practice, physician writing, and bioethics.


From: The New England Journal of Medicine
An Aging Un-American

My new patient barely returned my handshake. Instead, she hurried to the cramped center of the exam room and knelt on the yoga mat she had placed on the floor. Within seconds, her nimble body twisted into implausible forms — a human pretzel, a sailor’s knot, a fleshy corkscrew.
“You see,” she explained while extending her spine into an improbable arch, “I can’t do the cobra or downward dog like I used to. I just want to know if there’s something wrong with me.” . . .

From: Annals of Internal Medicine
Writing for Our Lives: Physician Narratives and Medical Practice

Having grown up with 11 siblings, I learned at an early age that there often existed multiple, contradictory versions of what I thought should stand as a singular truth (my own). We 12 lived a pluripotent family history in the very moments of its making, trendsetters, perhaps, for the later emergence of the deconstruction movement. And as the decades passed, even the “hard facts” tethering our disparate recollections frequently dissolved in the fog of collective memory: “No, it was Uncle Bill who dropped the meatloaf,” or, “You’re wrong! It was on Christmas day that you ruined my life forever.” . . .