Why All Clinicians Should Read This Memoir: a physician’s reflection on “Educated” by Tara Westover.

He shares his deep-seated mistrust of doctors. His belief of Internet rumors — including the ones about governments and pharmaceutical companies that have the cure for cancer, hidden away, but will never share it with the common man.

I recently read the memoir “Educated” by Tara Westover, and through it attained new understanding of a background that might lead to these health care beliefs.

But a particular element that fascinated me as a physician was her recollection of how the family managed (or didn’t) without modern medical care.

Once she is in college, she has access to standard medical care for the first time in her life. But she doesn’t know how to go about it.

Westover then calls to “confess” to her mother that she’s taking the penicillin.

It is only at Cambridge, in studying the concepts of negative and positive liberty, that she realizes:

I recommend “Educated”as a must-read for all physicians, no matter where you practice in the U.S.

For many rural patients, the diagnosis of cancer is the defining moment that brings them into the health care system.

For some of my patients, I am the first doctor they have seen in their adult lives.

Westover’s memoir has given me a new tool. Because with understanding, comes patience.

Read more on the impact of narrative medicine for patients and physicians.

Did you read Westover’s memoir? What were your reflections? please comment!

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