I found an email address for the great man, and wrote a note to him requesting recommendations for powerful reading. He mistook me for a doctor!
—– Original Message —–
From: sherwin nuland
To: Paul O’Connor
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: advice
Dear Dr. O’Connor,
I’m honored that you would consider me qualified to respond to such a responsibility as the one you’ve assigned. I can only attempt to approach the goal, especially as so many would see it from other angles and directions.
The passages that continue to inspire me come from such old war-horses as Osler, especially his “Aequanimitas” and “The Master Word in Medicine.” Of the more recent sages, I look to some of the writings of Lewis Thomas. But I still believe that the most meaningful single essay for medical students is the one by Francis Weld Peabody, addressing Harvard medical students in 1927, whe he himself was within months of dying from colon cancer. It’s the one about “the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient,” and I’m sure it’s familiar to you.
I hope you won’t think me self-serving for suggesting also that you look at the concluding paragraph of my own “Doctors: The Biography of Medicine.” (1989) It’s a statement of what our calling has meant to me, and is very brief. You may also wish to look at the final 4 paragraphs of the Introduction to that book.
I hope this will be of some help, in providing what may be the most meaningful hour of an entire medical curriculum