When Doctors Get Sick

  • Harvey Mandell
  • Howard Spiro

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Cardiovascular Diseases

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Maurice H. Pappworth
      Pages 7-17
    3. Robert L. Seaver
      Pages 29-38
    4. Lewis Dexter
      Pages 39-43
    5. Hastings K. Wright
      Pages 45-49
  3. Orthopedic-Neuromuscular Disorders

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Denise Bowes
      Pages 53-58
    3. William D. Sharpe
      Pages 59-62
    4. David B. Bingham
      Pages 71-77
    5. Joyce L. Dunlop
      Pages 79-87
    6. Miriam C. Chellingsworth
      Pages 89-93
    7. Stephen N. Sullivan
      Pages 95-103
    8. Sam J. Sugar
      Pages 105-118
    9. Donald B. Hackel
      Pages 119-121
    10. Louis B. Guss
      Pages 123-127
  4. Neuropsychiatric Disorders

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 129-129

About this book


When a doctor gets sick, his status changes. No longer is his role de­ fined as deriving from doctus, i. e. , learned, but as from patiens, the present participle of the deponent verb, patior, i. e. , to suffer, with all the passive acceptance of pain the verb implies. From pass us, the past participle, we get the word passion, with its wide gamut of emotional allusions, ranging from animal lust to the sufferings of martyrs. It is the connotation, not the denotation, of the word that defines the change of status. When a doctor is sick enough to be admitted to a hospital, he can no longer write orders; orders are written about him, removing him from control of his own situation. One recalls a sonnet from W. H. Auden's sequence, The Quest, which closes with the lines: Unluckily they were their situation: One should not give a poisoner medicine, A conjuror fine apparatus, Nor a rifle to a melancholic bore. That is a reasonable expression of twentieth-century skepticism and ra­ tionalism. Almost all medical literature is written from the doctor's point of view. Only a few medically trained writers-one thinks of Chekhov's Ward Six-manage to incorporate the patient's response to his situa­ tion. Patients' voices were not much in evidence until well into the twentieth century, but an early example is John Donne's Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624).


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Editors and affiliations

  • Harvey Mandell
    • 1
  • Howard Spiro
    • 2
  1. 1.The William W. Backus HospitalNorwichUSA
  2. 2.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-2001-0
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag US 1988
  • Publisher Name Springer, Boston, MA
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4899-2003-4
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4899-2001-0
  • About this book