Now in Paperback …
Talking with Doctors, Expanded 2nd Edition
Without any warning, in September, 1999 David Newman was told he had a rare and life-threatening tumor in the base of his skull. At the time, he had three young children and was a psychotherapist in New York with patients of his own. In the compressed space of five weeks, he consulted with leading physicians and surgeons at four major medical centers. The doctors offered drastically differing opinions; several pronounced the tumor inoperable and voiced skepticism about the effectiveness of any nonsurgical treatment. Newman was told to get his affairs in order. But he proved the doctors wrong.
Talking with Doctors is an absorbing and unsettling story that touches a collective raw nerve about the experience of doctors and medical care when life-threatening illness leads us to subspecialists at major medical centers. And it is a dramatic rendering of major changes in the doctor-patient relationship that have occurred over the past three decades. Probing the nature of medical authority and the grounds of a trusting doctor-patient relationship, Newman illuminates with grace and power what it now means for a patient to participate in life-and-death medical decisions.
The expanded 2nd edition features an Epilogue in which David Newman brings readers up to date on a medical odyssey that did not end with the events recounted in the original edition. It was renewed especially in 2008 when he suffered a recurrence of skull base tumor and was forced to a new and perplexing round of talking with doctors as he struggled to clarify his options and ensure his survival. Newman’s treacherous journey, filtered through his discerning intellect and fine literary sensibility, is a life-affirming gift to his readers. He is brilliantly self-reflective about a life lived fully yet precariously for 11 years with the aid of doctors and state-of-the-art treatment.
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Praise for Talking with Doctors
“As his story unfolds, the reader is comforted in knowing that he must have made it through, because he lived to write about it. But the book is no less riveting.… He writes of the difficulty that even a confident, educated man can have in talking with doctors. He confronted egos, condescension, excuses — even lies. He ran into odd forms of compassion, such as the physician who instructed his receptionist to return Newman’s $10 co-payment, as though the gesture would help compensate a man who just learned he might die soon. He also found doctors who asked about his family, who walked him to the cab stand when he appeared too shaky to move, who followed through with phone calls to get test results more quickly. From all of them, no matter how much he may have wished for a miracle, he never expected one. He wanted only a full version of truth that he could understand.”
Susan Brink, Los Angeles Times
“This book should be required reading for all medical students, and could well form the basis for a course entitled ‘Being and Finding the Best Doctor’.”
William Silen, M.D.,
Johnson & Johnson Professor of Surgery, Emeritus
Harvard Medical School
“Reading Newman’s cautionary story will be preventive medicine for the public and should be included in the continuing education of every physician.”
David Gordon, M.D.,
Professor of Radiology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine